Technically Invisible: Skills and Strategies for Reading
I have been exploring the use of Pinterest – a visually engaging website where members post “pins” (images) onto “boards” (pages) on topics which interest them. Pin + Interest = Pinterest!! I have been collecting and sharing ideas with other teachers for a few months, now – but recently I expanded my thinking to include a pin board on the reading skills and strategies taught in our curriculum. (See TWO updates, below)
I use these images in my classroom as warm-up/morning work – students see the image on the big screen, and then complete the activity in their reading journals. On this board, you’ll find images used to practice the skills of Activating/Using Prior Knowledge, Visualization, Questioning, Predicting, Drawing Conclusions, Cause & Effect, Generalizing, Comparing & Contrasting, Fact & Opinion, Main Idea & Details and Sequencing (for now, lol). By the time I’m “done”, I’d like to have at least 180 pins – one for each school day
Here’s our routine:
1. I choose pins that match our Reading Skill and/or Reading Strategy for the entire week.
2. Each day, I choose only one pin, and set aside about 10 minutes to complete the lesson.
3. I pre-load the image with the projector off, while I review the skill or strategy of the day.
4. I remind students to date their journal page, and label the heading with the skill or strategy.
5. I turn on the projector to reveal the image for about 3-5 minutes.
Students are required to write a 1-sentence description of the image (great practice for Main Idea!!), and then they answer the question on the pin, relating to the skill or strategy. I circulate while they are writing to clarify directions, and redirect as necessary. Time permitting, we do a whole-group share, otherwise, I am able to do small group shares during their leveled reading groups.
Students are better learning the names and definitions of the skills and strategies, and they are getting better at practicing them as well. See the example we did online, with the photograph of my son doing his Summer Reading, and you’ll see the student responses, listed below in the comments.
If you have any questions, comments or connections, feel free to share!!
UPDATE (May, 2012)
As the year has come to a close, I had started having students analyze an image as part of their weekly reading assessment. This is the photograph I chose to illustrate as an example here on the blog:
Students had a paper copy of the image (though it was displayed on the SMARTBoard for about 10 minutes during their assessment). We have been using images to practice this reading strategy, among many others. This was our 7th photograph used for Drawing Conclusion lessons. Students are always required to write a descriptive sentence to show the main idea. They then have to demonstrate examples of the reading strategy for that specific image. Below are sample student responses from this particular assessment:
I see a few people with blue helmets and red life preservers in a raft and a person is falling off.
I see a family on a deflatable boat and someone is sliding head-first into the water and someone is saving him.
I see four people on a raft in very rough water and one person is falling off.
I see four people on a crazy river riding a raft and one is diving into the water.
I see Mrs. Brooks with her family riding on an orange raft in foamy water with someone falling off the raft.
|Conclusion||How You Know|
I think the raft might be slippery because they are wet and the person looks like she is slipping off the side.
Mr. & Mrs. Brooks are trying to save the woman because their faces look very worried and I see they are both grabbing her foot..
They are wearing life jackets and helmets for safety. I know because it is a very crazy and wild river.
One person looks knocked out. I know because someone is slipping off the raft and she can’t help herself get back in.
Drawing Conclusions is a lifelong skill, and can be applied to reading as well as conversations and observations. Students did a nice job learning this tricky skill!
UPDATE: October, 2013
This year, instead of students just describing what they see in the image as the “main idea”, I am asking them to write a “picture story”. I tell them to imagine the photo being a page in a book – if I were to plop them into the story at that given point, what things might be going on…. It has raised the level of our writing already! I am thinking as the year goes on, that I will have them write in different genre styles to match the photo. Here are some examples that go with the skateboarding picture above:
One day I was walking down the street and a boy came up to me and said “Can I see that book?” I gave it to him, then he started riding on his ripstick away from me without saying thank you…
Tom is quietly reading a very exciting book on his skateboard. He is so into his book that he doesn’t realize that he’s heading straight toward a huge…. tree. Luckily, he falls into a big clump of soft green grass.
One day Steve was riding on his skateboard when he saw a book on the ground. He looked around the park but he didn’t see anyone around. He picked up the book and rode away, reading the book. He flipped to the back of the book and saw a name. It was his sister’s book!!
James was riding his skateboard and suddenly… someone threw a book at him! He grabbed the book and surprisingly started reading it. “Watch out for the tree!” yelled his mother. James turned, and did not get hurt.