"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Learning about Thick and Thin Questions

My library colleagues and I created a unit on crafting thick and thin research questions that aligns with the fifth grader's study of Colonial America. I might be showing my nerdy side, but I love going through these lessons with the students. This unit also affords an opportunity to see them put their new knowledge into action as they develop thick and thin questions for their chosen topics. Then they'll be returning to the library to find answers to their questions. All great stuff.

Here's the introduction slide show that we put together:

At this point, the students worked in groups to assess each of the questions. They had to provide their reasoning behind three of their answers. Their answers demonstrated their grasp of the subject.

The students shared our their reasoning and then we checked their answers.

With this grasp of thick and think questions established, the students practiced SEE-THINK-WONDER with this image.
In the wondering stage of the process they had to produce both thick and thin questions. This activity clarified and solidified the students' understanding. They are ready to craft their questions!

I am looking forward to the learning that lies ahead!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Skype in the Classroom: Ready, Set, Connect!

I recently created and delivered this professional development workshop for some first grade teachers in my district. 

Third Graders vote for the Cook Prize winner

After weeks of reading, my third graders cast their votes for the Cook Prize. The Cook Prize honors the best science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) picture book published for children aged eight to ten. Here are this years finalists:
The third graders and I read the books and discussed them each week. They used the Cook Prize criteria to consider each book.

Accuracy: strict accuracy of content in both text and illustrations
Clarity: concepts and terms defined and explained clearly
Writing: engaging style, rich language
Illustrations/photographs: appealing illustrations/photographs that add information and enhance the text
Format: invites interaction
Organization: material presented in logical, coherent manner
Encourages inquiry: inspires children to further exploration
Research: provides information about research process (in introduction, back matter, and/or in text); acknowledges people connected with research, writing, and illustration of book
Supporting material: includes bibliography, glossary, index, and suggestions for further reading

I have the fun of opening up the ballot box! 

And the winner is:
Journey with 43 votes!

Our honor books are:
Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea: 19 votes
Whoosh!: 13 votes
Follow the Moon Home: 11 votes

Along with casting their votes, the third graders had to explain their reasoning.

Some of my students are thinking that the Cook Prize should become a STEAM prize. 
What do you think?