Sunday, May 5, 2013

Think Puzzle Explore the MOON by Kim

What I did:  I had two groups who were studying the moon. It was a nonfiction unit.  I wanted to help them clarify that some of the things that they had learned through recess/cartoon culture (that is can bounce, that is is made of cheese, that is a famous because it is big) were not true.  Also, they had little understanding about the historical importance of the space race/getting to the moon/the space program.

Connect:  This was perhaps the third time that this group had used this routine. I had learned to draw a light bulb and puzzle piece to help them focus their writing on the appropriate part of the poster.   I also folded it in such a way that I could use the poster with both groups and initially they couldn't see what the other group had written.
Extend: Some of their puzzles were thought provoking and provided me with valuable information so that I could facilitate their learning (why is the moon big? is it a star?  why does the moon change? what is gravity? why does the moon have holes?  how old is the moon? why does the moon space not have air?)  We used a text and other print materials, as well as demonstrations and the ipad to answer these questions.They kept a month long moon chart, learned the names of the various phases, and  better understood  (from a demonstration) why the moon looks different.

Challenge: As in many studies with my population, building background and vocabulary for them is crucial. I often wish that I could spend every Friday taking them on field trips so that their schema would be enhanced.


  1. Kim,this routine seems great to use in the classroom. I'd forgotten about this routine, but it seems like it is fairly easy and helpful in guiding your instruction. I like this as an alternative to the KWL chart. Also, I feel like the explore column gives students ownership in their learning. When we think about asking questions and approaching learning through inquiry this routine is very helpful. I'm looking forward to using this in my class. Thanks!

  2. Kim,

    This seems like the perfect routine to help you establish what your students already know, which is obviously such an important step when working with ELLs. It seems you did a lot of work helping build that academic language so they could more accurately explain their learning. Good one!