Monday, February 22, 2016

Thinking BEYOND the text

 I am sharing about how I teach my kids to think BEYOND the text.
This week we are learning all about Abraham Lincoln. I am using these books for the first time this year & loving them. I am lucky enough to have a set of six in my classroom! They are part of our social studies curriculum kits but you can order one for yourself here on Amazon. However, you can use this lesson with any nonfiction text. 

When I introduce comprehension strategies for nonfiction texts, I like to start with determining importance and questioning. My first year of teaching first grade, I taught all week long about President's Day, Abe, & George! Read alouds, writing activities, stations, group work, video clips, Scholastic News  name, we did it. At the end of the week, all my students could remember was that George Washington had wooden teeth! #teacherfail 

Through trial and error, I learned that as a teacher it is important to model HOW I gather information as I read. As an adult, determining what is important as I read or skim a text for information comes naturally. It can be difficult to SHOW students how to do this. As I read aloud, I THINK aloud. I explain to students when I read something that I think is important my 'reader brain' makes a 'ding' to tell me to remember this information. 

 I discuss what a fact is and how it can help me think BEYOND the text I am reading and spark questions for further learning. We use the sentence stem "In the text it said..." to turn and talk about facts throughout the text, it helps to frame our conversations and helps my students to begin talking ABOUT the text. 

I made this chart to continue the lesson. Once we have chosen a fact, in this case we picked "Abe's family lived in a log cabin." We can FIND and PROVE this our book, plus kids have a ton of questions about life in a log cabin. 

Once we copy our fact down, we begin to discuss what the fact is prompting us to THINK about. Most of the kids started discussing who built the house, how it was much different from out homes today, and where the logs came from. 

After discussing our thinking, we move on to thinking BEYOND the text by asking questions about the fact we found IN the text. During this lesson a bunch of my students were very curious about how they could keep the logs from rolling around! They had great ideas on what the answer may be! We decided the student's would take this question home to search for answer with family & then return to school with their answer the next day! I love when a lesson sets my students up to want to learn more and it is a total bonus that they have a baseline to open a conversation with their family about our learning at school!
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