Working at three schools each week gives me a chance to try different types of reader response activities with a wide variety of students!
The students I worked with this time were not all reading the same book, and I wanted to get an idea of where students were in the book … if they had started yet (since some chose not to read over Spring Break).
Like I have written before, I wanted to know more than just a page number. And there are different ways to express information about a book other than just writing a summary …
Different learning styles?
So I took a chance (but it was really the thinking process and the book conversations after the fact that mattered the most)
So here were the options I gave students:
Draw a picture the main character would take of an event that has happened in what you have read so far (ex. for a facebook or instagram post)
Create a selfie of the main character
Develop an image of a prediction you have about the story (if you haven’t started reading yet)
I watched as students brainstormed and then started creatiing. I did not go into this activity as a way to encourage and support the 4Cs (Creativity, Critical Thinking Skills, Communication, and Collaboration) but I could see examples of the 4Cs while students were working. I began to wonder if it is all about creating the right environment for those skills to flouriish?
But that is another blog post …
So we had a learing conversation (reflection time) at the end of class and discussed these questions:
- How did you choose which type of picture to create?
How/Why did you choose the details to include?
I took notes on the discussion and here are a few of the comments I captured:
- “I used evidence from the book cover when drawing prediction and decided to draw what I thought might be the setting”
- “My picture is of a kid doing a lot of homework. He has a large pile of homework papers on his desk which was the reason for the HW machine.”
- “This is when they discover the homework machine is real. I think that is an important part of story.”
- “I did a selfie because I really liked the character.”
- “I also did a selfie and included some details from the book in the picture. It is not just what she looked like but some of the things the book said she found or did.”
- “I picked to do an event in book. This was very descriptive in the book so I chose to draw that part.”
- “I did a selfie because he is main character.”
So not only did I have the images my students created but also was able to listen in on conversations about why students chose to create those images. I was able to not only figure out where students were in reading the book but also a little but about what they knew about story elements!
At one time, I thought, I should have students write down why they made that choice, but I have found that I get more authentic answers when we just talk!
And students like to talk …