Hi there! Have you tried Visible Thinking routines with your students? They can seem a little bit challenging with primary kids, but with some scaffolding they are a fantastic way to encourage discussion and critical thinking. I modified the Generate, Sort, Connect, Elaborate routine with my first graders- here's how...
First of all, here is a snapshot of the routine:
GenerateOur new unit is about well-being, the concept of health and happiness. To generate ideas and tap into students' prior knowledge, I asked them to list and draw what they do to be healthy; this was their pre-assessment. Students had a lot of schema for healthy habits in a bodily sense, but not so much regarding mindfulness or emotional health, which is not surprising for their age. This realization will help them better notice what they have learned at the end of the unit.
SortIn order to make the sorting go a bit more smoothly, I recorded the most common responses listed on students' pre-assessments on small note cards. I also added a little picture to support my struggling readers. These are simple ways you can accommodate your early learners- they do NOT need to bogged down by writing. After all, this is a thinking activity, not a writing one.
Here's where I changed the routine a bit: instead of sorting by evaluating the ideas according to importance, I focused the sort to be more categorical because I wanted to lead my students into discovering the three components that define our concept of well-being- mind, body, emotions.
I gave each student a card and asked them to think about how they were similar to other cards. Then, they each pinned their card according to where they thought it connected and I prompted them to explain by asking, "What makes you say that?"
ConnectOnce all of the cards were posted, I encouraged students to notice the groupings that had emerged. We labeled each group with a connection that they thought was shared.
Finally, I drew their attention to the fact that the groups represented the 3 components of well-being. I drew a pie-like symbol at the top to represent how all three parts make up a person's well-being as a whole. (We have just finished fractions, so this made a lot of sense!)
ElaborateThis will come next! As students learn new things, I will ask them to add to our concept map. This will include new ideas, new connections and hopefully, conclusions.
So there you have it. This routine is a lot more telling in a small group or with partners as it allows more of each child's thinking to emerge, but I was happy with the process we shared. It's a start and I will use this strategy again.
Thanks for stopping by!