Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Tracking Our Thoughts with Intention

Intentional is my "goal-word" for this year. Teaching at a charter school gives me the opportunity to teach character each and every day. This is my favorite aspect about where I work. We are challenged daily to teach with intention and to guide their little minds and hearts to think deeper than what the world accepts to be the "norm." Of course, this has flooded my thoughts about how I need to be intentional with each and every lesson I teach as well.

Teaching Reading has been my biggest struggle to teach this year. We are starting with a novel that I adore--The Secret Garden. I can't get enough of the changes that each character undergoes throughout each chapter. Talk about character education in a nutshell! However, I feel as though I am struggling to challenge my students. Their comprehension skills are very high and they seem to make connections very easily...when the book is read to them. Reading to self is a different story this year. I'm not finding the joy that I saw last year in my students during this time. 

I came across a lesson that I knew would challenge them. I knew I had to be intentional about the approach I took, so I put together these cute bookmarks for them, which they loved -all about how you present it to them, right? ;)

"Sticky Note Thinking" bookmarks freebie here.
[Full credit goes to "Ideas by Jivey"!]

After giving them the bookmarks and discussing the "talking to your book thought-starters", we learned about the three levels of note-trackers. Using the shallow water/deep water illustration totally hooked them and was clear in their sponge-like minds! It was like Christmas morning seeing the light-bulb-moments while learning about the higher level thinking in this anchor chart below. 

My class enthusiastically agreed that we wanted 2 or 3 level trackers when reading! "We don't want to swim with floaties, Mrs. Baun!"

It was overall a HUGE success. I felt it was the first time I was able to visually see these kiddos pulling those thoughts into words--what a powerful skill! 
"This reminds me of the story of Mr. Craven and his wife, but Mary and Dickon." 
Wow! I love it when they make connections. Deep thinking right here, y'all.

My favorite part of the whole class period was one of my sweet boys saying on his way out the door, "Mrs. Baun, Reading class is SO fun!" 

The love of reading is a gift that can not be given--it must be caught.
Again, my teacher heart is oh so full.  

xoxo Rachel