Connect: Our third & fourth grade interdisciplinary unit is around rights. One of the recommended texts is The Story of Ruby Bridges. After reading the text I felt like we needed to go further, and I chose to use the 4 C's routine in order to help us do this. Knowing that we are constantly working to improve our conversation skills I thought the routine would provide us with content to discuss. The routine ask students to think about the following after reading a text:
-Connections (What connections can you draw between the text and your own life or learning?)
-Challenges (What ideas, positions, or assumptions do you want to challenge or argue with?)
-Concepts (What key concepts or ideas do you think are important and worth holding onto from the text?)
-Changes (What changes occurred in the text, characters, or your own thinking?)
Extend: I knew that it would take time to review what each of the c's meant, especially for third grade. Therefore, we started off our lesson with a big class chart-defining what each of the c's meant. I didn't expect the kids to completely understand concepts-but we used words like theme, moral, and then for kids who were still stuck I just said in one sentence what would you say this book is mostly about. Then kids had at least something to write down on their own chart.
As you can imagine kids had a lot of different thoughts. For example, some third graders wrote down connections like Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr., I won't lie-I was a little worried as I read some of their thoughts on their charts, but I was pleasantly surprised in the way they helped each other synthesize and clarify the information through conversation.
Challenge: Like I said before, my students and I have been working really hard on conversation skills and how we can deepen discussions. As we broke into our small groups for conversation, my students reverted back to robots as they read their thinking from each box. I had to pull everyone back in for a quick 'catch' and review how we build on each others' thoughts. After this, most groups were able to deepen their conversations. So, my challenge wasn't necessarily around the 4 c's thinking routine-but the conversations that came with it. Overall, I was pleased with the 4 c's routine. It was challenging for the kids, but it pushes us out of our comfort zone. It's also nice because it can be used with fiction or nonfiction texts.