metacognition

Notebook Time + Research Metacognition=Vocabulary Yoga with Mari Andrew

For the last few months, I have been inspired by the ways Allison Marchetti and Rebekah O’Dell have used the art of Mari Andrew with their students for notebook time.

 

I’ve already used one illustration as a notebook prompt with my seniors earlier this year, and the students loved her work.  With these things in mind, I decided to use this illustration as a “mentor text” for my students to help them rethink a vocabulary word or concept from their research around their self-selected “future of work” topic.

With the hopes of engaging my students in some meaningful metacognition, I asked my students to think of an important vocabulary word or concept from their research and see if they could recast it in the spirit of Mari Andrew.  For groups who didn’t have colored pencils, I distributed packs of supplies to help students craft their work.  Though a few students originally got a little confused and picked a random word, most jumped right in and those who had wandered a bit got back on track with a little redirection as I walked around and “eavesdropped” on their work.

  

This was definitely a creative stretch for students, but I think the value was that it gave them an opportunity to really think through the qualities of the word or concept from their research they selected.  Students had an opportunity to share out their work and thinking with their peers.  Because students will create a multimedia or performance product to accompany their written paper of their research, students have the option of refining, revising, and adding to this work on a poster as part of their project portfolio.

I plan to incorporate more of Mari’s work as inspiration to help us engage in “vocabulary yoga” and think of alternate ways to represent meanings and connotations associated with words.  What other artists do you like to use for notebook time and how are you using them with your students for notebook time?  I’d love to hear your ideas!

Gettin’ Sticky With It: Post-It Notes for Formative Assessment, Sharing, Meaning Making, and Noticing

During the week of August 14-21,we read and discussed together the following Native American selections in all of my 11th Language Arts classes:

  • “The Earth on Turtle’s Back”
  • “When Grizzlies Walked Upright”
  • from The Iroquois Constitution

During that week we engaged in a good bit of collaborative work with station work and partner created Venn diagrams.  On Tuesday and Wednesday (we are on a modified block with A days and B days) , we used class time  to do some thinking, reflecting, and sharing on an individual level about the those Native American selections we read the previous week.  Students had the entire 90 minute block to complete the following graphic organizer over the three selections:

Originally, I envisioned students would visit the “stations” I had set up around the room with flyers containing the thinking prompt, QR codes with a virtual version of the hard/physical copy, and a parking lot to post the Post-It notes, but I realized prior to the activity that most of my students often need some quiet individual time for thinking before we begin moving about and get frenetic, or that is at least a need at this point in time.

Once students completed the graphic organizer, they transferred their responses to the sticky notes I provided them. I differentiated the required number of Post-It note shares; for some classes, students shared all 12 responses.  For other classes, I asked them to select their best “x” responses (example:  select and copy what you feel are your strongest 6 answers).

Students called me over to read their graphic organizer before beginning the Post-It note work; for the classes that had the modification of selecting their “x” number of strongest responses, it was interesting to see how many students looked to me to help them select their best responses.  In those instances, I simply asked the student, “What do you think and why?”, and he/she would immediately begin talking me through their self-selection process.  I loved hearing the students think aloud to me, and I think this process also gave many students a little more confidence in his/her decision-making.

Because we do have 90 minute blocks, students used Thursday/Friday (and some will finish on Monday, our “skinny” day) to do an individual or partner gallery walk (see below).

Students visit each “station” of responses and can jot down a response that was memorable or significant to him/her/them OR write about a pattern of responses he/she/they notice(s).   In addition, many students did a first pass of reading as they visited and taped up their Post-It note responses (air is turned off overnight in my building; consequently, the humidity kills the adhesive power of even the “super” sticky Post-It notes).

Many students shared positive feedback about the activity in terms of getting to read the content as well as the colorful look to our room.   I feel it is important to use all of the available wall space inside my room (and any that I can use outside of it!) to create galleries of student crafted work whether we are actively utilizing it for a community knowledge building activity or just simply sharing and celebrating our thinking in a visible way.  At the beginning of the year, I was very intentional about leaving wall (and bulletin board) space empty so that we would have places to share our work and create gallery walk stations; this belief was reinforced by this post from Megan Kortlandt of the fabulous Moving Writers blog.  Many thanks to Smokey Daniels for reminding me of this fabulous resource for envisioning the classroom environment from Smokey and Sarah Ahmed’s wonderful book, Upstanders.