I purchased a file of jottings templates. It was only $3 and it has great stems to help lead reluctant writers to make more detailed jottings about their books. Today's lesson focused on metacognition. This can be an odd skill to teach students and sometimes an even harder skill to assess.
I am currently teaching Lucy Calkins' Reading Workshop unit, Following Characters into Meaning. I am using the book Because of Winn Dixie as the read aloud. I was impressed with the thoughts my students jotted after I read Chapter 4 from the book. In this chapter the main character, Opal, learns ten things about her mother who left her when she was young. The students were more insightful than I expected.
I'm thinking that Opal's mom is going to come home but have the same problem.
I'm noticing that Preacher does want his wife back but does not want the dog.
I'm realizing that Opal wants her mom back but not to fight.
I'm noticing that Preacher is very sad that Opal's mom is gone but at the same time he is happy because Opal's mom was not going to be a good role model.
I'm realizing that Opal misses her mom even if she doesn't remember her.
I'm thinking that Opal's mom was very bad because she left.
I'm thinking that Opal's mom would love to go back to see her daughter but Opal's mom is afraid.
I am thinking when Opal's mom left it had something to do with her drinking.
I'm thinking Opal's mom is filled with different personalities.
I think the Preacher is lieing about Opal's mom.
Well, when I came across this comment I knew I definitely needed to have a conference. Even though this jotting put a smile on my face, I had a feeling that this isn't what the student meant.
And...that is what she meant! So I had a nice conversation with her about the other things on the list that could show mom was smart. The student referenced the text and noted that if someone knows all of the constellations then that would mean they were probably smart. Such a better jotting!
This conference was delicate because alcoholism is difficult for children to understand. I talked with the student about the book so far and led her to the conclusion that this book is not about mom's drinking, but it is about Opal's relationship with people. So the student revised her jotting...
She told me she didn't think that someone could be drunk and run. She said the person would probably fall down. I suggested that it was odd that someone would do something healthy and unhealthy at the same time.