Friday, September 5, 2008

Strategy Review Chart in Student Notebooks

My students set up strategy review charts as a glossary in their notebooks during the first week of school. It took about 15 minutes just to set up of two charts, but I am hoping that it will pay off in the long run with students using the strategies correctly and me not having to do as much re-teaching of strategies .

I reduce the columns to five, deleting the "best use" column since I did not want to get into a discussion about priming, processing and retaining for mastery with my students.

Students left the last page of the notebook for "Classmate Contact Information," and then they could set up their first strategy review chart on the first double-page spread in the back of the notebook.

On the left facing page, they made the columns 1) strategy, 2) function and 3) resources. On the right facing page they had the columns 4) remember to and 5) primitive. That way they had more room to draw the Thinking Maps, defining format chart, key word notes, etc. Plus, the remember to column contains a lot of information.

In a wide-ruled composition notebook, students left four lines per row, allowing them to get five strategies on each spread.

I had them set up two charts right away because I had them save space for all 8 Thinking Maps so that those strategies would all be together, even though they will not be learning some of the maps for a few weeks. After they set up the boxes, students who had time started copying the map primitives and writing the function. I told them that the remember column would be discussed as they learned/reviewed each map.

Since students had already learned the bubble map, they filled in that remember to column with adjectives only, support/prove adjectives in frame, and only use bubbles (no squares) so that you are communicating in a common language. As a sidebar, I told them that they wouldn’t start writing A’s as B’s, so why make squares when the language calls for bubbles. I also told them about the time a group of students last year made a bubble map with squares for a presentation, and I thought that I was looking at a multi-flow map for the first few minutes of the presentation. Talk about miscommunication.

Before students created their strategy review charts, I told them explicitly why they were taking the time to keep a glossary of strategies. Here are the reasons that I used:

If they are absent the first time that I teach them a strategy, they can learn how to use the strategy from a friend (who has it written in a chart).

Since we use so many different strategies in class, they may not see a strategy again for a month or two, but I will assume that they can implement it, so they need to look at the glossary. The resources column has the author’s name like Hyerle, Rothstein, or Nessel, but also the page # of their own notebook where the strategy first appears so that they have an example.

During the choice book unit, each student will teach his or her group for one full day, and they will be developing a lesson with all nine components of the unit flow map. I am actually making them complete a unit flow map lesson plan for one day of the choice unit.

If another teacher at the high school ever says, "today we are going to do such and such strategy" (defining format, for example), the student can pull out the glossary and be ahead of the class since they know how to use the strategy.

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