Tagged The Great Depression

“Zoom In” with Leslie Harris

Leslie and I worked together on the “Zoom In” strategy using the same content and goals as I had used with Laura Laborde.  However, I have streamlined the process, and I think it works a little better as listed here.  In addition, I tried using the same image and “zooming in” on another part.  The strategy seemed to flow better with the image this way.

Here is the updated version:

1. Introduce 3-2-1 Strategy and complete for “injustice”

2.  Have students get out a piece of paper and put up the first Power Point slide for the image.

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3. Write down notes for what you see in the image

4.  Discuss

5.  Write down any questions you have about the image

6.  Discuss

7.  Write down what you think the image means

8.  Discuss

9.  Reveal the next part of the image

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10.  Write down new things you see in the image

11.  Discuss

12.  Write down any new questions you have about the image

13.  Discuss

14.  Look back at what you think the image “meant” the first time and revise where your thinking has changed

15.  Discuss

16.  Complete the process until the entire image is revealed

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17.  Discuss how students thinking about the image changed throughout the process.  Consider how these skills will translate to texts:

  • Looking closely and carefully at texts- individual words, phrases, sentences.
  • Looking at chunks of the text and forming a flexible hypothesis as one is reading.
  • Stopping to ask meaningful questions and seeking to answer them as one is reading.

A couple of notes about this.  I am learning that the 3-2-1 strategy is a difficult concept for students to grasp and needs to be explicitly taught, discussed and practiced to be effective as a measurement of students thinking.  I think this is ok, but time is needed the first time it is introduced in order for students to understand the concept and expectations.  I would be interested to see how it works once students have had this experience.

Here is the Power Point I used with Harris: Zoom for Leslie Harris

“Zoom In” Strategy Part II: Reflection and Application to Text

After I left Laura’s classroom, she did some really interesting work on her own.  First of all, she had students reflect on the experience in a number of ways and shared these reflections with me.  Here is a picture of the discussion guide she gave to students:

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The responses she received showed students making many connections from the activity to working with texts.  For example, students said such text-based skills might be “interpreting” what is not directly explained by an author, “hypothesizing” about what will happen in the future of a text, and looking for “context clues” in texts to determine meaning.

Students also identified that as they continued to look closer and for longer in the activity, they were able to think of the “deeper meaning,” look more “critically” and “wonder” about more things.  In addition, one student said that when he doesn’t understand something he would “ask meaningful questions” about it to help him understand.

Laura followed this reflection by reading the back cover of Of Mice and Men with students and discussing what they might hypothesize the book will be about.  Students made connections to Naturalism and the book cover to make predictions.

Laura plans to continue to build on this activity through examining foreshadowing in the text and predicting future events with students as they read.

“Zoom In” Strategy Part I: Observations and Building a Hypothesis

I worked with Laura Laborde in her classroom using a strategy with the following learning targets:

  • I can observe closely and critically.
  • I can form a flexible hypothesis.
  • I can ask meaningful questions.

These targets are similar to, and could be used as scaffolding for, close reading.  In addition, the activity addresses speaking and listening skills.  Laura and I worked with images instead of text, but I think this same technique is transferable to text.  We also started with the 3-2-1 strategy, and students used the word “looking” to explore thinking about that concept.

There are still a few bugs to work out with this strategy (we only tried it twice), so if other teachers try it, I would love to hear variations!

We used a piece of art from The Great Depression because Laura is introducing Of Mice and Men right now to students, and the image reinforces how individuals were disempowered (like Lenny, Crooks, Curley’s wife and others) during The Great Depression.

The strategy is as follows:

1.  Show a piece of an image. 

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2.  Ask students to write down what they observe
3.  Discuss what students wrote down
4.  Have students write a hypothesis/interpretation for what the image might be and ask a question about the image, specifically, something they “wonder” about
5.  Share and discuss
6.  Show a second piece of the image 

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7.  Repeat step two and three (observation-share)
8.  Ask them to revisit the original hypothesis and revise it evaluating how thinking has changed and come up with another thing they are “wondering” now
9.  Share and discuss
10.  Show a third piece of the image and repeat the process, but this time, maybe ask students to deepen the thinking about the hypothesis focusing on not just what the image is, but also on what it means.  You can begin to talk about themes in this way

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11.  Cont. showing parts of the image and repeated the process until it is totally revealed to students
Have a final reflective conversation about how students thinking changed and why it was important to form a hypothesis but also be flexible throughout the process

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This is ALMOST the full image. Click on the link to the complete Power Point to see the whole thing.

12.  After this process, students were brought back to the 3-2-1 strategy as part of the reflection.  I am going to talk more about this in the second post about the “Zoom In” strategy which Laura implemented on her own.

Here is a Power Point with the images used for this activity:  Zoom In, Great Depression Activity

This activity was modified from Making Thinking Visible.