Sunday, December 28, 2014

Metacognition Masters

We spent the better first half of our year really focused on different strategies for thinking while we read (aka. metacognition). Here are a few different tools of the trade we use on a daily basis that have helped us become "Metacognition Masters".

First up, our "Metacognition Wall" found in our classroom library.

It contains the anchor charts we utilized as we learned about each strategy along with key phrases the students can use in sharing that type of thinking.

The students also have a mini copy in their reading notebooks shown below. You can grab a free copy of this printable here. (Note: It looks small/does not take up the whole page, so that when you print it will fit on a notebook page.)

In addition to key phrases in their notebooks, the students also have thought bubbles that they use while reading to remind them to be thinking as well as quick reference bookmarks that they often use during read-to-self.

The bookmarks can be downloaded here.

As a final project to demonstrate their understanding of the various thinking strategies, our third graders this year each selected a "good fit", fiction text to read, think about and utilize to create a piece of writing titled "Metacognition" in which they shared information about the strategies and how they used them with their readers.

Here is an example of how the students jotted down their thinking to begin "generating their ideas" on post-its.

After reading and jotting down all of their thinking, I asked the students to go back and star 3 of the post-its, each a good example of a different type of metacognition that they would like to use in writing their piece.

They then went through the writing process to develop a multi paragraph piece about their writing like the one shown below.

They read all of their pieces and shared the books they utilized in small groups before we headed out on winter break. It was a great way for the kids to engage in discussions about reading and writing and learn about different book options for future reading in the classroom as well!

What are some of your tips, tricks, and goodies for teaching metacognition?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Our families "light up" our lives...

We had a blast today putting together our family gift before we head out for winter break tomorrow.

Each student was given a set of 6 lights. The very first light on each string of lights states "Mi familia ilumina mi vida porque.../My family lights up my life because...". On the other 5 lights, I asked students to share a reason as to how their family members make their lives brighter.

The kids came up with some very sweet things to say, sharing everything from "you support me when I am sad", to "you help me with my homework", to "you cheer me on at my sporting events". 

After writing each of their ideas, the students worked to evenly space the lights and tape them on a piece of black yarn (this tied in nice with our fraction unit we just finished up- equal parts had meaning!)

Then they were ready for wrapping. A little tissue paper, a fun tag, and a red lunch sack (compliments of Target), and we are good to go folks!

You can grab a copy of the lights template here in Spanish or English.
Fun font is from Kevin & Amanda and cute light graphic is from My Cute Graphics.

What are some of your favorite classroom gift making ideas? I always love to have a bank ready for years to come!