Monday, May 6, 2013

Ideas, Thoughts and Wonderings

What I did: This was my first attempt at a thinking routine, and for some reason the terminology of the Think, Puzzle, Explore routine intimidated me.  I actually had to go back and reread a few times, before I found routines that felt just right for my classroom.  We did this particular revised routine after a nature walk, and surprisingly, even though I sort of messed it up by tweaking it, the conversation it sparked was remarkable.  Because we were exploring my student's backyard, they had really interesting thoughts and wonderings.

Connect:  This conversation launched our study of animal habitats.  Children wondered about different habitats on the chart and I was able to sort those into research groups.  Then my first graders began to look in books to learn more about the particular habitat that they found interesting.  They were able to work in pairs or on their own.

Extend: Once I used this routine to spark interest and conversation, I discovered that I could just dive into the other routines and not be afraid.  This routine allowed me and my first graders to "get our feet wet".

Challenge:  As always, the challenge was to facilitate research in a first grade classroom.  Teaching them to fish for and catch information that might not answer their question, but was related to their topic, is such a huge goal for us.  Also, because it was the beginning of the year, finding 24 non-fiction books that first graders could read independently was tricky.

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