This is a support resource for Bill Roberts teachers to share successes / challenges and have a critical discussion about INQUIRY and how to make it work with the thinking strategies and backward design.
Saturday, May 4, 2013
What I did: Every Monday morning my first graders write a headline describing their weekend. We then take every free moment in the classroom to discuss our headlines. For example, while the student of the day gets the calendar and weather map ready for the day, we are sitting whole group and I read out one headline at a time. Then, the child that wrote the headline gets to orally describe the article that would follow his/her headline. While the "headline" student shares, the group is sitting with their knees pointed toward that student. When the student is finished, someone in the group says, "Excuse me _________, but I have a question" or "Excuse me ___________, but I have a connection. After one response (sometimes two or three responses), it is another student's turn.
Connect: My goal was to focus on a couple of the thinking routines and make them part of our everyday rituals. I really wanted my first graders to focus on their thinking and not the routines. I am also always looking out for opportunities to model and facilitate polite conversation in my classroom and this activity lends itself beautifully.
Extend: We have capitalized on our practice of this routine by using the headline format to synthesize many events in our classroom, from field trips to the leprechaun visit.
Challenge: It has been difficult for some students to synthesize their weekend events down to a few words. I also find that students that have difficulty articulating their thoughts on paper really struggle with the concept of a headline. These children tend to write whole sentences. I will continue to help them revise their sentences and determine which words they can cut out to make a snappy headline.