Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Creating Anchor Comprehension Charts in Grade 2

In Teaching With Intention, Debbie Miller writes: 

“In our anchor classroom, evidence of student thinking was everywhere; anchor charts, student responses, and quotes adorned the walls and boards making thinking public and permanent. The questions, quotes, ideas, and big understandings displayed throughout the room reflected the real voices of real kids" (p. 61).

Anchor charts help to make our thinking visible. They are charts that are made with children and then displayed in the classroom so that they can be referred to by the teacher and the children when needed. In this post I outline three types of anchor charts that can be created with children to guide comprehension. Creating anchor comprehension charts with children helps them to understand complicated texts, compare texts, and be able to reference the learning these processes created when encountering new texts. 

1. Inquiry Charts

Inquiry charts, developed by James V. Hoffman, offer learners a method to deepen their understanding of text (print and multimedia) through comparative questioning and summarizing.  Below is a copy of a chart that could be used to study different versions of Jack and the Beanstalk. 

Notice that the I-Chart is organized by questions, including new questions that arise during the study. 

Example of Inquiry Chart for Jack in the Beanstalk Stories

How to use an inquiry chart

  1. I like to create I-Charts with the whole class in grade 2. We cover a wall in the classroom with several sheets of large paper and after negotiating the questions we will study, the chart might look like the example above.  
  2. I engage students in forming questions about the topic, but I do have several questions already pre-planned. Because second graders have been learning how to retell stories by including character motivation, the influence of setting on plot, how earlier events influence later outcomes, and genre-specific elements--our questions tend to reflect this knowledge.
  3. We begin by recording what we already know about each question (when possible).
  4. After the first read aloud, children work in small groups to a write a response to one of the questions.  I work with each group to revise (if needed) and to edit (almost always needed) the response. I then type and print the children's responses and post each on the I-chart. 
  5. We usually then create some charts based on the text we have just read such as the characterization charts I write about at the end of this post. Prior to making these charts, we reread the text listening for what we are charting.
  6. We reread the I-chart before I read the next text aloud. We continue the process of recording responses to the questions for each text, revising and editing, and then posting our responses.
  7. We summarize our understandings. 

2. Comparative Charts

Illustrations: In addition to an Inquiry Chart, we can use a comparison anchor chart to guide children in their study of illustrations.  Again, using the Jack in the Beanstalk texts, we can pose a set of questions that guide children to name the similarities and differences with regard to illustrations used in each of the texts and explore how these illustrations help readers to comprehend.
Comparison Chart for Studying Illustrations

3. Characterization Anchor Charts

In addition to studying several Jack in the Beanstalk stories, students can use T-charts to study characterization that happens within a story.  Unlike the I-Chart and the Comparative Illustration chart which are whole group endeavors, I like to have students work with partners to complete these charts by rereading the texts. I do this after I have modeled this with a read aloud and then had students use the characterization charts during guided reading.  This practice helps them to work with a partner on these tasks and apply it to independent work.

Below are two charts that focus on what actions Jack takes and what we might infer and what Kate thinks and says and what we might infer.

Characterization Chart for Jack focusing on His Actions
Characterization Chart for Kate focusing on Her Thoughts and Speech

Creating anchor charts is an important aspect of literacy learning as the charts help to make thinking visible. 

Bibliography of Jack and the Beanstalk Stories

  1. Bell, Anthea. (2000). Jack and the Beanstalk. Illustrated by Aljoscha Blau. New York: NorthSouth. (Older children)
  2. Galdone, Paul. (2013). Jack and the BeanstalkBoston, MA: HMH Books for Young Readers.
  3. Hébert-Collins, Sheila. (2001). Jacques Et La Canne à Sucre: A Cajun Jack and the Beanstalk. Illustrated by Alison Lyne. Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing.
  4. Joyce, William. (2014). A Bean, a Stalk, and a Boy Named Jack. Illustrated by Kenny Callicutt. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
  5. Kellogg, Steven. (1997). Jack and the BeanstalkNew York: HarperCollins.
  6. Ketteman, Helen. (2012). Waynetta and the Cornstalk: A Texas Fairy TaleIllustrated by Diane Greenseid. Park Ridge, IL: Albert Whitman & Company. 
  7. Nesbit, E. (2006). Jack and the Beanstalk. Illustrated by Matt Tavares. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
  8. Osborne, Mary Pope. (2005). Kate and the BeanstalkIllustrated by Giselle Potter. New York: Aladdin.
  9. Stimson, Colin. (2012). Jack and the Baked Beanstalk. Somerville, MA: Templar Publishing. 

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