Our "Book of the Month" for January is "If...A Mind Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers" by David J. Smith. This book scales down everything from timelines to the universe in kid-friendly terms and pictures. An exercise we used in Reader's Workshop today was to use a strategy that helps to make more meaning of what the students are hearing during a read aloud. We taught students how to keep their brains on fire, capture their thinking, and connect it altogether in order to make meaning of what they are hearing and reading. Students were asked to write the entire time they were listening to the book being read. This was not easy for first graders but we were pleasantly surprised with the outcome.
The goal is that students will do this thinking while reading, listening, and discussing books. The students write the entire time they are listening to the text. They continually grabbed thoughts and wrote to add and revise as they grew new ideas. The following are the results of our first exercise in getting our brains on fire.
Grabbing thoughts and writing them using numbers to separate thoughts.
Asking "How old is/are the planets?"
Some students are not ready for such extensive writing, but they experience the magic in their own way. Brains are on fire...