Over the past month I’ve had the privilege to work with a Kindergarten team on non-fiction reading with their kiddos. This past week we moved into the next phase of the unit. Here students progressed from asking questions and making connections in the text, primarily through the pictures, to noticing moments where their thinking caused a big reaction–WOW! GROSS! NO WAY!
To teach this lesson we watched a particularly compelling Venus Fly Trap video that certainly lent itself to students having big reactions. We used the chart below to help us think about those reactions in two ways.
One way was by simply noticing when we were learning a new and amazing fact like, Venus Fly Traps produce a sweet nectar that lures flies into their trap.
The second way was to notice when a new fact made us have even more questions because the idea was so strange or foreign to us. For instance, did you know the Venus Fly Trap has six hairs that serve as sensors and when a fly touches one it sets off a 60-second time within the trap? If the fly doesn’t get out in time, it’s usually doomed. Not only did students have a big reaction to this fact, but also many questions. A Venus Fly Trap is a plant! How does it have a timer? When it traps the fly how does it “eat” it? Does the trap have a stomach? We pulled in question words to help us pause and think about what we’re still wondering when we learn new information.
The lesson must have gone well, at least for one little girl, because the next day she came to school with this:
She had gone home and done this same work, making a chart to notice when she had a “reeakshin” and a “qechin”. Her reaction column includes, “That cnat be!” and “inposubl!” Her question column, “Maby?” and “Oh my” and “code thay…?” She was so proud to show her work and I was humbled to be a part of this moment with her.
I was recently asked to consider how I know I’m effective in my job. I’d say this sweet moment hits the nail on the head. Now I just need to ask if she’s willing to be my assistant.