Monday, May 6, 2013

Step Inside

Connect: As we've been studying different time periods of Colorado history the kids have been asked to synthesize all of their learning and thinking around the time period and show off their understanding of the content. For both our Native American and trapper, trader, & explorer units students have taken their understandings from a variety of sources to write from the perspective of someone who lived at that time. My goal is for them to use fact to create a sensory image in the readers' minds. The reader should feel like they are with the character.

Extend: This is one of the thinking routines that I can honestly say I'm using as a routine. Throughout our Colorado study and the remainder of the year we are focusing on synthesis as a tool for understanding. So in my conferring (more with fourth than third) I've been asking students to share how they are synthesizing in order to complete their pieces. I know it's still at a surface level, but it's been great to talk through our strategy study in writing as well as reading.

Challenge: When completing our initial 'Step Inside' some kids had an easier time than others writing a 'story' per say. My wonderful teammate (Sarah) had made a graphic organizer containing prompting questions from the Making Thinking Visible text. Many of our third grade students wrote from a perspective of a Native American, but they simply listed answers to the prompting questions. I truly wanted them create a 'snapshot' or small moment of the person's life. We're currently in the second round of these pieces narrating the lives of either a trapper, trader, or explorer traveling through Colorado. With these pieces I decided to use our writer's notebooks instead of the graphic organizer-focusing more on the sensory images. So far I see less list like facts and touching stories.

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