Monday, May 5, 2014

Zoom In

After looking at my instruction through the planning lens of UbD, I have been working on trying to infuse a little creativity into my LLI lessons rather than sticking to the lesson format provided by the program.  One way I have tried to do this is in the way I do the book introduction.  Although it took longer than the usual intro, I chose to use Zoom In with a group of 2nd graders, one of whom is an ELA student.  It is important during the intro to be able to implant and talk about new words and vocabulary.  The nonfiction book I chose to use was titled All About Boats, and there were many concepts and words the kids may not have had any schema on.  Zoom In allowed us to take a very close look at the pictures while discussing all of the different details the kids noticed.  I was really excited at how much information the kids were able to pull from simply looking deeply at the photos.

I chose two images.  The first was of a house boat, and the corresponding discussion is next to each photo.  I noticed that as the photo expanded, the kids seamlessly synthesized the new information they were observing, with very little guidance from me.  This routine worked like a charm!

I think I see the trees.
I see the house.
Palm Trees.
The beach… Mexico.
Close up beach house.

Oh wow.
There’s another building on top of that building.
I think its going to get taller and taller and taller.
They have a lot of plants.  Their house is a plant garden.

Teacher: “How has your thinking changed?”
You can see bigger.
First I thought it was a close up beach house.  Now I think it’s an apartment.
Wait!  I think it’s on a boat.
Teacher “Why do you say that?”
From here to here it looks tilted.  On close up it doesn’t look tilted.

G was right!
It’s a house boat!
It’s on the water!
“So what do you predict the book will be about?”

The next photo I chose was a tug boat.

I think this is a boat that catches crab and fish. 
It looks like it can crash through ice.
This looks like a fishing pole.
It brings up one of those cages.
Teacher:  "You have lots of schema on this."
I usually watch this show called "Deadliest Catch."

I think that thing is one of those things that goes down with the cage.
Maybe it is pulling a boat.  A tiny boat.  I think it’s a rope tied to something. 

I guess G was right! But it’s huge instead.
I think this big boat isn’t doing anything.  The little boat is pulling.  I think the little machine is very, very strong.
They are a very strong boat that moves the huge boat.
They are strong. Their job is to pull boats!
Teacher: “These are called Tug Boats.”

In debriefing about Zoom In, I asked the kids, “What does this routine teach us about looking at the whole picture?” and they responded:
It teaches me about how you zoom out.
So you can know what’s going on.
Its important to see the whole thing.
You have to zoom out and see the whole picture.

I really enjoyed this activity, and was really pleased by the conversation that was generated, and the synthesis it promoted prior to reading a new book.  I can’t wait to use it again in the future!


  1. Lynn,
    Every day I am amazed at the amount of schema we help build into our kiddo's lives, whether ELA or not. Our kids have only been on the planet 6-7 years, and even if they think they know it all (which some do!), they are sorely mistaken! I grapple with the many ways we can build schema and finding the appropriate time. I often do it during guided reading, but if you take the time to really "zoom in" during a guided reading group, the group could go 30 minutes +, and who has that time (for each group)? I continue to hone my guided reading practice with the experience that the appropriate skill levels are addressed there rather than whole group. I need to continually be mindful that my mini lesson needs to be MINI, so I can carve more time for guided reading to do these wonderful activities in a small group. I am going to try Zoom In with guided reading!

  2. Lynn, I LOVE the way you used this routine! As I read your blog, I found myself anticipating the next picture/idea. It is so engaging and intriguing to grow an understanding. I have always wanted to use this routine and the way you shared it, I am doing it FOR SURE! Thank you for all the work you do to teach kids in a meaningful way!