Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Struggle that Supports Deep Learning

Yesterday the students and I took apart a few pages of complex text that introduced the main reasons why animals and plant species are endangered, and also, why it's important to conserve species.

There was lots of new vocabulary, and the text was dense--every sentence brought forth a new idea, concept, or fact. Children labored through the text with me. Later, partners chose a section of the text to rephrase and make student-friendly in mini posters as one way to teach the whole  school about this topic, and a way to practice the standards-based reading, writing, and presentation skills they'll later use when they write their reports.

The first part of the partner work included coming up with a question that summarized their section of the text, the kind of question that would attract young readers' eyes, thinking, and imagination, and the kind of question that would create understanding with regard to the big ideas of endangered species.  That task created lots of struggle as students tried to get to the main idea of each section of text. Some wanted to give up, and others tried numerous avenues that didn't quite meet the expectation.  I coached always with our audience in mind, This is important as understanding brings support and action for positive change.  You have the ability to make a difference to all students in the school with the way you convey this information.

Today I'll coach some more as students create those big questions, then bullet important points, and describe how people can help preserve plant and animal species. I'll also guide students as they choose just right, free-to-use images to support the information, format words and images on cardboard, and film their one-minute oral presentations via PhotoBooth for a multimedia informative, eye-catching, persuasive introduction to our study of endangered species and animal reservations.