Know and Wonder Charts and Patterns

slice

Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

Through Twitter and many Twitter friends, I have come to value charts.  If you aren’t familiar with @chartchums, you need to check out their blog here or their book Smarter Charts here.

Dorothy Barnhouse and Vicki Vinton have introduced us to Know and Wonder Charts in their magnificent text, What Readers Really Do:  Teaching the Process of Making Meaning.

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There is a Twitter Chat, tonight, April 22, 2014 from 8:30 – 9:30 EST (#WRRDchat) where many of these ideas including “implementation” will be discussed.  Our chat leaders include:  Allison Jackson (@azajacks), Julieanne Harmatz (@jarhartz) and Ryan Scala (@rscalateach).  Additional resources include these previous posts: “The Process of Meaning Making,”  “Beyond CCSS: Know and Wonder Charts” (July 2013), and our group facebook page where last year’s chats are archived.

 

What have I learned since last summer?  
Students must do the work!

Teachers cannot wait until their comprehension instruction is perfect. Students need to be “doing” the work of constructing meaning. There is a huge difference between students who “don’t understand YET” and students who don’t know what they are doing.

Here is some of our work from third grade last month.  Our book was Fifty Cents and a Dream:  Young Booker T Washington.

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Here is page 2 – the first text:

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After reading this page, students discussed with a partner both what they knew and what they were still wondering about.  So the picture below is what the first whole-class “Know / Wonder” chart looked like.  A lot of conversation centered around the word “longed” which JD so aptly told us “did not mean long like 2 feet long.” That discussion led to the inference (with evidence) that Booker “wanted to read.”

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As we read on through page 3 we were thinking about:

  • Were any of our questions answered?
  • Were any patterns beginning to emerge?

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Our question of “Why is Booker NOT reading?” was answered on this page.

Now our chart began to get messy as we used it to demonstrate how we were “making meaning” as our first question was answered with a bit of color coding for our question in the “Wonder” and our answer in the “Know.”

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One of our goals was to see how the character developed over time in this text.  How did the author reveal information about Booker? As students worked with partners, they crafted their own post – it descriptions (rewritten here –  😦 poor photography skills).  How could these descriptions show a progression of  “drafting understanding” that could be used to dig deeper into the author’s words?

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These first two were pretty similar and were easy for the students to think about as “evidence-based” descriptions with picture two adding the inference “be a reader.”  Picture 3, below, demonstrated students who continued on through the text in search of “MORE” ideas and evidence.  They wanted to know “WHY” reading was so important to Booker and they did not stop until they had drafted their theory.

 

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Because we have also worked with formative assessment and checklists, we tried another view of the same post-its in a chart with labels and descriptors so students could begin to “self-assess” their own work.  This was the FIRST draft – an additional step was later added between the “two stars” and “three stars.”

Character Dev. Booker

 

 

After discussion, students could perform some self – assessment to determine where they were at in their understanding.  This self-assessment allowed most students to answer the question:  “What would they need to do to ‘move the level of understanding in their post-it response?'”

But, we had to take a deep breath and stop and rethink here.  The ultimate goal is NOT to get the “top star” rating. We wanted to include some self-assessment so students could focus on the learning targets, but we wanted to be crystal clear in our ultimate goal.  This sent us back into the book to re-read to check what the text REALLY said instead of what we “thought” it said!

The focus for instruction moved to “patterns.”  Students begin to look for “patterns.”  This is the stage where the students were “reading forward and thinking backward” as they” tracked patterns to see how the patterns were  connecting developing, or changing.”  The “What we Know” changed to “ALL” about the pattern – What is the pattern?  How is the pattern changing?  and the “Wonders” shifted to – Why? What could the author be showing us?

This was hard.  It was tempting to set the students up with more modeling or even more scaffolding.  However, will more “teacher work” REALLY  increase the likelihood of “independence” for the students as they construct “meaning making?”

 

What do you think?  How do you help students  draft their understandings?  And how do you stay focused on the real goal?
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8 responses

  1. Fran,
    I really appreciate this re thinking of the process. It is so crucial and difficult to connect the patterns.
    This sentence says so much:
    “There is a huge difference between students who ‘don’t understand YET’ and students who don’t know what they are doing.”

    Looking forward to tonight’s chat.

    1. Thanks, Julieanne!
      It is so easy to get sidetracked and “think” that the readers are finished with a text. Do all questions need to be exhausted? Some questions may not be answered YET careful and thoughtful observations of patterns will increase student understanding!

  2. That BUT is so incredibly important, Fran. Keeping the big goals of empowering students as learners is so often hard when we’re under pressure to achieve specific measurable skill outcomes. Makes me want to go back to 50 Cents & a Dream to see what I notice—and if they’re any changes, which is often where you see a glimpse of what the author’s trying to show us. And it might be fun to look at a simpler book, like I Want My Hat Back, where the patterns and the meaning are both easier to discern just to get that that’s what writers do.

    1. Vicki,
      There are so many teacher pressures: time, doubt (“Am I doing this right?”), “the assessments” and of course the outcomes! I have discovered that it is so important to make time for “How does today’s work with patterns help you in your own reading and writing?” This brings the focus back to the students AND “making meaning.”

      Thanks for another book idea. We will definitely look at “I Want My Hat Back.” We are going to do some more “re-reading” in WRRD as well! (lots of patterns there!)

  3. Love the way you walked us through this important process, Fran. In middle school, often this is the trickiest part:”There is a huge difference between students who “don’t understand YET” and students who don’t know what they are doing.” Middle schoolers are masters of “reading deception.” I will definitely tune in tonight and lurk!

    1. Tara,
      I hope you participate tonight. Middle schoolers are particularly adept at “avoidance” so they don’t have to work, think or take risks.

      Here are the questions for tonight.
      https://docs.google.com/document/d/12q0_7klw17M8tp7zkomuY3FxOBy_tO48Er0AD7zfCW0/edit?

      Consider Tweetdeck / tweetchubs / hootsuite or some form that allows you to set up columns and chats are so much easier to follow!

      1. Sorry, Fran, I could not get the link to open.

  4. An archive of the 04.22.14 Twitter chat is available at: sfy.co/tTvK

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