I’m linking up with Elizabeth from Kickin’ It in Kindergarten for this book study post.
As I’m reading this book I constantly find myself nodding, Yes! and writing in the margins of the book. So far this book is really solidifying my Teaching Philosophy. I’ve always been a HUGE believer in giving students the opportunities to turn and talk. When students are given the opportunities to put what they’ve learned into their own words it solidifies their thinking and learning and they stand a much better chance of remembering what we want them to know.
Assign kids partners and have them turn eye to eye and knee to knee to think-pair-share.
Sit on the floor with your kids and have them sit around the perimeter of the rug so that you can all see the face of the person who is talking. Notice my little guy playing with his shoe laces. Do you think the fact that he is sitting right next to me is a coincidence? 😉
Here are a few things that I’ve always done in my classroom to give the kids opportunities to brainstorm and discuss.
1. SCHEMA Charts- I first blogged about these charts in 2010 after I read the book, Teaching with Intention by Debbie Miller and she talks about how she uses schema folders with upper grade students to track their learning. I wanted to find a way to use these in a grade level appropriate way with my Kinder babies so I started creating them on large charts as a whole group activity with my students.
This is how they work:
When we are going to start a NEW topic we first start by recording our Schema (What do we THINK we already know about this topic?)
The students tell me their Schema as I record it on a post it note. ALL Thinking is valued so everyone’s thinking is placed on the chart even if I know it isn’t true about what we’re learning (you’ll understand why in just a bit). Next, throughout the week as we read and learn new things we record our NEW LEARNING on the chart. I like to use a different colored post it because sometimes our New Learning connects with our Schema and I like to tag them together so we can see that.
As we are reading and learning new things we might find out that what we thought we knew isn’t true so it gets moved to the Misconceptions box. Are you still with me? 🙂
The key to this is to make sure that the first few times you do these YOUR THINKING ends up in the Misconceptions Box. This sets the tone and lets your students know that it is okay to take RISKS. Even the teacher doesn’t know everything!
These charts are so powerful!
This is a fancier chart I did when we learned about Bats.
For some reason I didn’t use two different colors to chart our learning.
Do you see the difference?
Being able to SEE the connections is really important.
Note to Self: Don’t make that mistake again. 🙂
Another thing that I love to do is THINK MATH. I started doing this sometime in 2009 and my kids love it every year! I start by giving them the answer to the problem and they use Mental Math to try and come up with as many problems as they can. I want everyone to be successful so there are two lifelines built in: Ask a Teacher or Phone a Friend. So, if I call on a student and they aren’t able to generate a problem they can use a lifeline. If they use a lifeline the helper can give them ONE number to help get them started. I want everyone to do their own thinking so they aren’t given the answer. They are just given a little bit of support.
Bloom’s Taxonomy Visual
I’ve also always been a firm believer in the creation of art work and projects. Many times other teachers and administrators see this sort of thing as “fluff” because they don’t realize that there is research that supports the importance of giving students opportunities to create. I’m not talking about cookie cutter craft projects. I’m talking about projects that require students to use shapes to draw or create and think spatially.
Directed drawing of the Statue of Liberty
Cutting shapes by listening and following directions
Drawing and writing in response to Literature
Haha!! No! Everything that is a printable doesn’t automatically fall into the worksheet category.
Let me show you the difference.
These are WORKSHEETS. The Learning is at the lowest levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy.
Don’t be fooled. Using a spinner and dice on a worksheet is STILL a WORKSHEET.
Worksheets have a place (I usually send them home for homework) but they shouldn’t be used in a classroom too often because they don’t really require the kids to do very much thinking or creating on their own. Your struggling students probably wouldn’t be able to be successful with some of these worksheets independently and your higher level learners would blow through them so fast! Worksheets are at the lowest level of learning on the Bloom’s Taxonomy list. Their main purpose for the higher level students is just to keep them busy. Think about it. Most of these would take all of about 5-10 minutes to complete and in the end have your kids had to really do very much thinking?
The examples below are RECORDING SHEETS rather than a worksheet.
The students are working at a Higher level of Bloom’s Taxonomy and they are recording their own drawings and thoughts on paper. Do you see the difference? Even though the students are working on a higher level of Bloom’s All students can be successful because they are recording their own thinking and learning.
Whew!!! I’m not usually so wordy in my blog posts! I’ve covered a lot of information but I hope it was somewhat helpful!
I would LOVE to hear your thoughts so please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll do my best to respond to each and every one of them!
Join us for the other chapters in this book by following the list below.
Link up (click on the blue button) and prepare for your chapter 3 discussion over at Mrs. Wills Kindergarten on Tuesday! Here is the rest of the schedule and you can join in at anytime!
Queen of the First Grade Jungle Chapter 4 (March 10th)
Fabulous in First Chapter 5 (March 14th)
One Extra Degree Chapter 6 (March 17th)
Mrs. Jump’s Class Chapter 7 (March 28th)
The First Grade Parade Chapter 8 (March 31st)
In April, you will be visiting these girls for the remainder of the study:
Mrs. Ehle’s Kindergarten Chapter 9 &10 (April 4th)
What The Teacher Wants Chapter 11 (April 7th)
First Grader At Last Chapter 12 (April 11th)
Erica’s Ed Ventures Chapter 13 (April 14th)
KinderGals Chapter 14 &15 (April 18th)
A Rocky Top Teacher Chapter 16 (April 21st)
The Inspired Apple Chapter 17 (April 25th)
Little Warriors Chapter 18 (April 28th)
Falling Into First Chapter 19 (May 2nd)
Kickin’ it in Kindergarten Chapter 20 (May 5th)
If you are not a blogger (which is totally fine!!!) we still want to hear from you! Leave a comment below to let us know how you are incorporating this book in your classroom!