Duck into Third Grade

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Making Thinking Visible in Grade 3

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We’ve tried two routines from this book over the past two weeks. These routines work with fiction and non-fiction. The first routine we tried was the 4Cs. The authors refer to these activities as routines.
First, I modeled the 4C routine with the class read-aloud, Poppy. Next, we tried it with Cynthia Rylant’s The Journey: Stories of Migration. It’s a very simple routine to teach even though it promotes complex thinking. The kids were engaged throughout the entire routine. Give it a try and see what your students think!
Step 1: Fold a blank piece of paper into fourths.
Step 2: Label the first quadrant Connect. Students worked in pairs to connect with the text.
Step 3: Label the second quadrant Challenge. What were the difficulties that the character encountered?
Step 4: Label the third quadrant Concept. What were the key concepts or main ideas the author wanted readers to understand?
Step 5: Label the last section Changes. What changes occurred in the text?
Step 6: Students used their completed 4Cs to contribute to a whole class discussion on the meaning students made out of the text.
Great activity to make thinking visible! As I circled around the room, it was evident those who struggled with main ideas and those whose comprehension was stellar.

The second routine was 3-2-1 Bridge. I introduced it with a picture book and modeled the procedure.
We previewed the pictures and wrote 3 words, 2 questions, and 1 simile, metaphor, or analogy.
Then we read the text and revisited our thinking. We did another 3-2-1 and discussed how our thinking had changed. These routines get easier to do each time we do them. The students worked in groups to do this routine after I read a chapter of Poppy. They used white boards and shared there thinking. It is a wonderful sight to see kids engaged, thinking, and discussing, quite a contrast to completing worksheet after worksheet of mind numbing test prep. So sorry for the negative comment, it is that time of the year. Hopefully more thinking routines will be in our future, maybe my class will take to them as a duck takes to water just like they did these two remarkable routines!


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