Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Six Ways to Move Into and Out of Text in Order to Deepen Learning

Example of Stop and Jot used in 2nd grade classroom.
Robert Treat Academy, Newark, NJ - 2014.

Stop and Jot
Students stop during a lesson and write a quick note, reaction, question, reflection, or idea. The link above will take you to a brief video that explains the technique.  I would only add that this technique can be strengthened when the stopping and jotting are connected to emerging understandings as well as learning targets.
Sketch to Stretch
Sketch-to-Stretch is an instructional strategy developed by Harste, Short, & Burke, (1988). Students draw quick sketches to stretch their thinking and understanding of concepts. Moving to another communication system, such as art, can lead the learner to generate new insights and meanings. For students who access to the internet, FlockDraw, could be an interesting way for collaborative sketching to occur. 
Resource: Sketch to Stretch: Sketch Me a Story (Short & Harste, 1996)
I use this technique with poetry.  You can see examples here, here, and here.

In addition to sing pencil and paper, young students can also use Doodlecast to draw, explain, and share their learning.

Lift a Line
(A good student example can be found here).
Lift a line is a strategy that shows students how to choose an interesting sentence and use it as a first line for a new entry. Students choose an interesting sentence from their own writing or from their reading to recopy onto a blank page. This lifted line or sentence becomes the first line of a new entry.
An interesting range of writing approaches can be found on the Facing History/Facing Ourselves website.  Here's a link to it. 

My favorite example of lifting lines (see below) can be found in Kevin Hodgson's (@dogtrax) post, In the Poet's Defense: I Lift Lines to Remix Ideas. Pure genius, that.

from here.

This strategy encourages students to form a concise summary of what they just learned. Students are able to demonstrate their understanding of an idea or concept by writing only one sentence to capture the most important elements. This strategy allows students to practice their writing skills and gives teachers a way to check students’ understanding.

In this activity, students create a still picture, without talking, to capture and communicate the meaning of a concept. Students must truly understand the meaning of a concept or idea in order to communicate it using physical poses, gestures, and facial expressions rather than words. This collaborative strategy is appealing to kinesthetic learners and allows all students to be creative while strengthening their comprehension of a concept.

An interesting variation is that after students freeze, they can be tapped by other students in the room and they need to step into the character/concept they are depicting and speak.

Below is an example from Minneapolis Public Schools. Provides context for drama use as a means to improve comprehension  (disc. about tableau begins about 1:30 in).

Snowball: Promoting Thinking through Discussion
This technique involves progressively expanding groups. The teacher and/ or students prepare a question. Students work alone first thinking about the question, then discuss it with a partner, then join another pair to form a group f four, then eight, and so on until the whole class has been brought together.

This is an example of work I've done shifting from close reading of a Loren Eiseley text to snowballing.

Here is a compilation of discussion techniques (including Snowballing) that I regularly use.  They all are based on the work of Stephen Brookfield and Stephen Preskill that can be found in their book,  Discussion as a Way of Teaching. 

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