Monday, October 1, 2012

Using I-Charts in High School to Develop Essay Writing

An I-Chart, also known as an Inquiry Chart, is a tool learners can use to help them understand and compare information that comes from more than one source. By thinking about what is already know, answering specific questions while reading, generating new questions, and then summarizing all of the information learned while reading, an I-Chart is made. By generating and completing an I-Chart before, during, and after learners have read several different texts about—they develop a better understanding of a topic.

How Does It Work?
  • Step 1: Read the topic and the guiding questions on the I-Chart. Talk with a partner about the topic and the guiding questions. Work together to answer as many of the questions as you can.  Place your answers in the box directly below each question (What I Know).
  • Step 2: Talk with your partner about any questions you might have about the topic.  List your questions in the box directly beneath the heading “New Questions.”
  • Step 3: To help you learn more about the topic, there are multiple sources of information provided.  Each source tells about the topic. Think about the guiding questions before you read the first text. As you read, underline any information that is related to the guiding questions.  After you have finished reading the first text, write answers to the questions in the boxes on the chart. List any new questions.  You are now ready to read the second text.  Again, after reading each of these selections, write any answers you find to the guiding questions in the boxes provided, as well as any new questions you might have. 
  • Step 4: After completing all of the categories on the chart, except the summaries, work with a partner and compare your charts.  Add any new information or change information you might have as a result of talking with your partner and reading your partner’s chart. 
  • Step 5: Work with you partner to reread each of the guiding questions and the information you found from each reading selection.  Summarize the main points for each question and record you response in the boxes next to the word summary.
  • Step 6: Work with another pair of students who have completed an I-Chart or section of an I-Chart and compare what each team has found.
  • Step 7: Select one of the guiding questions as your essay topic. 
  • Step 8: Use the information from the completed chart to help you respond to your essay topic.  Be sure to include evidence from at least two of the texts that explains your stance on the topic of how identity is constructed and supports your assertions.

Adapted from Hoffman, James V. (1992). Critical Reading/thinking across the curriculum: Using I-Charts to support learning. Language Arts, Vol. 69, pp. 121-127.

Topic: Constructing Identity
How does physical environment shape identity?

What identities, if any, are permanent and which have the power to change?

How does power influence identity?

New Questions
What I Know

1. 145th Street: Short Stories by Walter Dean Myers

2. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi 

3. Sofas by Richard, Wayne. (Digital Storytelling). Center for Digital Storytelling.  

by Anna Deavere Smith. 



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