Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Slice of Life-The Late Winter "Magic" And How Pic Collage is Helping Us Summarize

Slice of Life is sponsored every Tuesday by Two Writing Teachers.

First of all, I apologize if this blog post gets lengthy.  Maybe this slice will be more of a wedge tonight.  :)

So, I'm watching my students today, and it hits me.  We are experiencing the 'magic' in my classroom right now.  You know, where you look up at them one day, and they are (consistently-not perfectly-which I'm cool with because we know it's a process) doing what you want them to do!  I set out the expectations for a project today, and was amazed at what they were accomplishing even when we had an early out due to some snow.  It was a good feeling. There was a calm buzz about my room.  (Until dismissal time anyway...) They are definitely working hard, and accomplishing a lot!  I hope you are seeing some of that magic too!  

During our literacy block we are working on the strategy of synthesizing.  This higher level thinking skill has proven to challenge my kids, and I knew I had to get them to internalize and engage with it.  The inspiration for this project came from this book.  Really.  Click on the link and go buy it.  I'll wait.  

Okay then, you are back!  After reading the section on summarizing, I was inspired to try a project of my own.  Beginning with our district materials, the students wrote some ideas for a summary of themselves as people using this graphic organizer:

The kids came up with some great responses.  My friend below in the glasses summarized his helpfulness.  He wrote some ideas about how he serves silverware to his family, listens to grown ups, and takes care of his glasses.  

With the iPads, the students learned how to use Pic Collage.  Then they were off to capture some pictures that helped show their 'Big Ideas.'  They could type their text into the collage and save it to the camera roll where I will upload them into a slide show to share.  

An example of a work in progress:  

This friend is summarizing what she does that is kind.  She is still working on text, but is on her way!

The verdict?  We aren't finished yet, but we are now engaged in the strategy of summarizing!  Today was the first day after a week of discussion that I felt like we were on our way!  


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