Mrs. Walker, our IB coordinator is leading the faculty through a book study of “Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners” by Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church and Karin Morrison, which is a research-based approach to teaching thinking that develops students’ thinking dispositions. I bought the book and I’m about half way through reading it and I wanted to start using some of the routines.
IB Concept Perspective
I have in the past I explored the concept of perspective by having third grade students view an interesting photograph. I chose one from the New York Times feature, “What’s Going on in this Picture?”. I have used Padlet before to record students thoughts after viewing a photo.
But this year I decided to use one of the thinking routines from the book and chose “See, Think, Wonder”. I modeled the routine as a whole group with the teacher recording the student responses on chart paper.
See, Think, Wonder
Then, using a new photo, I walked the students through the thinking routine again. They used a sheet of paper folded in thirds which they headed each section, “See”, “Think” and “Wonder.” We went through the steps together viewing the photo and they recorded their writings.
I think the students began to have a better understanding of their thinking after this activity.
I am anxious to incorporate more thinking routines in library instruction and activities.
Our first grade classes are begining their unit of inquiry on plants and animal, one of their lines of inquiry being animals and plants depend on each other for survival. I read Eric Carle’s book, The Tiny Seed and we focused on the IB concepts of connection and change. How were the plants (seeds) in the story connected to the animals and how did the seed change?
After reading the book to one class and the discussion that followed, I realized that our students did not have much experience with seeds. I went home and looked through all the seeds I have and brought some in for the students to look at.
Variety of Seeds and Magnifying Glasses
I brought in eight different types of flower seeds that I had on hand that showed a variety of shapes and sizes. I put a few on white sheets of papers with index cards as labels. They enjoyed using the magnifying glass and they made a number of observations about the seeds. They said one type looked like raisins, another like chocolate chips. An easy way to bring to the idea of seeds to life; well easy for me as I am a gardener and have lots of seeds on hand!
A last minute idea turned out great! I needed a quick book and activity for third grade classes for our first week back to school after the winter break. I perused through some new books and saw, The Most Perfect Snowman by Chris Britt. This story is about sharing and being judged on your clothes; it’s a combination of fantasy and real emotions. After reading this book, I asked the students to create their “perfect snowman.”
Creating Their Perfect Snowman
I asked them to think what their perfect snowman would look like. Granted, our children don’t have much (in some cases, any) experience in building real snowmen, since it hardly ever snows in south Georgia.
I asked them to think of how their snowman would show emotion and motion. How could they express themselves? What might they do?
They really enjoyed the freedom to be creative. Some struggle when they have very few directions. I did hear a few, “I may a mistake; I need a new paper.” No, just turn it over or treat that “mistake” as an opportunity!
They loved this activity and it was so simple, construction paper and crayons.
I love their artwork, including traditional snowmen, a cowboy snowman, police snowman, teacher snowman, football player snowman and more.
I love the book, The Bones of Fred McFee by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Kurt Cyrus. The rhyming text and luscious illustrations make it a delight to read. I needed an activity for second grade and one of the Georgia Standards of Excellence they are exploring now is in physical science, S2P 1 b. Construct an explanation for how structures made from small pieces (linking cubes, building blocks) can be disassembled and then rearranged to make new and different structures.
I was thinking of having the students assemble something and it needed to be from supplies that I had a lot of. Thought a bit and remembered the tub full of popsicle sticks! The idea of assembling a skeleton just popped into my head and that made me think of Fred McFee.
We read the book and I showed them examples of non-fiction books that had information and illustrations of skeletons; a dictionary, an encyclopedia and a non-fiction book. I placed these on the tables and the teacher paired up the students. Each group had a dictionary with the skeleton illustration and a heap of popsicle sticks.
Initially some students asked how could they assemble a skeleton. I referred them to the illustrations and asked how they might form a head or legs. The soon got the hang of it. One of the classes did this activity on a day that they were dressed as super heroes as part of Red Ribbon Week. You’ll notice that some students posed their skeletons in super hero poses and then posed themselves for the photo!
I have been attempting to give the kindergarten students more opportunity for drawing and writing in the the library. They are currently exploring holidays in their unit of inquiry.
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything
After we read a book about Halloween, Linda Williams’s book, The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything, I asked the students to think of something they were NOT afraid of, that others might be afraid of. I copied a paper headed with “I am not afraid of” and asked them to draw that thing.
Today one of the kindergarten students asked when they came in with their class if they were going to “write” today in the library. Building up those expectations!