Saturday, March 7, 2015

Opinion Clines

Scaffolding Language Scaffolding Learning: Teaching English Language Learners in the Mainstream Classroom by Pauline Gibbons is the Chets Creek book study that I have been attending led by our Reading Coach, Melanie Holtsman.  There are about fifteen teachers who meet each week after school from first through fifth grade, including a couple of Math teachers. We only meet for forty five minutes so Melanie has quite a challenge to get us thinking. The third strategy from Chapter 3 that I have tried  is called "opinion clines." (I admit that when Melanie explained the strategy I doubted it could be used with first graders!)
The idea is to arrange items in a line representing a continuum.  Student need knowledge to be able to make decisions so I decided to use the characters from our Kevin Henkes Author Study.  The students know these characters well and relate to these characters.  I put a continuum on the board with "worried" at one end to "never worries" on the other end. The challenge was for the students to use their knowledge of  Kevin Henkes' characters and to place each of the characters on the continuum using reasons to support their opinions from the books. Putting Wemberly at the worried end was a no brainer. He is the main character in Wemberly Worried, but making a decision of where Sheila Rae, the brave and spunky Lilly fit was a little more challenging. Soon the discussion and disagreement started.  The students argued back and forth using examples from the book, and accountable talk, to try to change opinions.  When we couldn't come to a consensus, the students voted and the above is the continuum the students finally agreed upon.  Not bad! 

1 comment:

Melanie Holtsman said...

So excited to see how this looked in first grade! Love that all kids are learning - targeted strategies for ESOL like these are good for all, my fav!