Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Headlines to Assess Understanding

When I posted my fiction unit design a few months ago, I was grappling with creating Enduring Understandings.  This is what I posted...

Now that I am learning about Enduring Understandings, I am planning to use the Making Thinking Visible routine of "Headlines" to help assess what students are taking away. Do students understand that...

Authors share a message or a theme that is universal.
Authors develop characters that connect with readers.
Authors follow a predictable structure. 

Empathy helps us understand others feelings, motivations, and traits in life.
Stories communicate life and connect us to one another.
Stories are how we pass along meaning

As our unit came to an end, I taught the routine of "Headlines" and found student insights to be revealing and refreshing.  In retrospect, many of their understandings are topical versus overarching, but I am incredibly pleased with the depth of thinking.

One piece that I added to the routine was for students to write their complete thought on the back of the headline, so that I understand the thinking behind the idea.  Their discussions were priceless.

 "No Moral, No Story" - Kaia and Sophie

"A story worth reading is something that has a juicy great theme.  Without a good theme or any theme a good story is never fully complete; Even if you think it is done, it is not.  I think a good theme makes a story come together." - Siri and Marisa

"Organize like a Perfectionist. " - Caroline and Trevor

"A story worth reading has humor with old spice and intelligence." - Henry and Elijah

"A good story worth reading has a plot.  A plot makes up a story line.  A plot gives you the characters, the setting, and the problem/solution.  Without a plot, the smoothie wouldn't have the berries, the orange juice would have no oranges, and the crayons would have no color.  Obviously, a good story worth reading has a plot." - Chloe and Ainsley

"Crazy for Characters." - Tyton and Ana

"Entertain with Happiness" - Will and Calvin

I plan to use the "Headlines" routine at the end of each unit.  I love it as an assessment that helps us determine and wrap up what was most important to us.

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