Saturday, November 12, 2011

Questioning with Chris Van Allsburg

We all know good readers ask questions. The Mysteries of Harris Burdick is the perfect book to elicit students' questions. This book is equally great for inferring. This activity takes two days, and the students really enjoy it. To prepare for this lesson you need to photo copy at least eight different pictures and captions from the book, and glue them onto chart paper or poster board. I numbered 6 post-it notes and added them to the chart, as well, so only six questions could be asked per picture. Laminate so you can reuse. This is a carousel activity; which means you will place the pictures around the room, and have the children walk around to each of them.  First, I read the synopsis at the beginning of the book. Then I give the students a few minutes to observe the pictures and read the captions. After that, give each student four sticky notes. Have them choose four of the pictures they want to write a question for. I tell them they must read any and all questions already posted, and they may not duplicate a question already posted. They should post it on the correct numbered post-it.                                                                                                              

The next day I teach a lesson on "thick" and "thin" questions. We use the questions generated from the carousel activity to categorize. I make a T-chart, and stick them onto to the correct category. I tell them "thick" questions make you think and "thin" questions are usually right there. This activity is very eye opening for the kids.We talk about how the students with the "thick" questions used the picture and the caption to generate a question. I like to get this activity back out when I start inferring. It helps students see that good readers use questioning and inferring in combination, and that is Classroom Magic!                         
           Teaching Tip of the Week                                                          
If you have to lesson plan and most of us do, you should check out Planbookedu. It is my new best friend. I have been using it for over a year now and couldn't get along without it now. It is an online lesson planner that makes it easy for teachers of all grade levels to create, share and print their lesson plans. They even have common core standards you can embed with just a click of the mouse.                                            

Anchor Chart of the Week                                                                                                                    
OK, so it's not on chart paper, but it still anchors student's thinking. I like to use this when teaching students to not use worn out words. I let them use their thesauruses to look up synonyms for the over used words. I have them fill in a graphic organizer and keep it in their writing notebooks for future use. If you'd like a free copy click HERE for it in Google-docs.                                                                          
Click HERE for a free copy of my graphic organizer
        Question of the Week                                         
This is a burning question that has been driving me crazy. Does Chris Van Allsburg's book, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, have a spelling error in it? I think the caption should read "Just Dessert" and NOT "Just Desert." I just have a hard time believing it was a mistake. I mean it IS Chris Van Alsburg. Check for yourself. What do you think?                                                                                                            

1 comment:

  1. I think the word "desert" is being used on purpose- as in "desert- verb meaning to leave without intenting to return" I know that I would desert that kitchen!