Spotted on the door of a classroom:
When students enter this classroom, a “Wondering Prompt” such as an image, soundscape, or object invites them to look closely, listen closely, or read closely. Students begin each day with a mindset focused on wondering, questioning, and problem solving.
Here’s an example that focuses on close looking.
Close looking is “a deep, precise understanding of the (image’s or object’s) form, craft, meanings, etc.” (adapted from nieonline.com/tbtimes/downloads/CCSS_reading.pdf).
Wrap a few small unusual objects (avocado seed, darning egg, piece of bamboo, an old and worn shard of pottery, etc.), and place them throughout the classroom with a note:
The wondering begins. Listen as the students look closely and gather information about the object’s size and possible shape.
Next, open the door to problem solving a bit wider.
Now, more information about the object can be gathered and shared – the shape, the hardness, the thickness, and possibly the scent. Listening to the students guessing and sharing ideas is a great opportunity for formative assessment of background knowledge, problem solving, and the depth of vocabulary, so listen closely and take notes.
Give the students a cue to unwrap the object.
NOTE: You may or may not know what this is. If you don’t know, continue the exploration with your students; some of the questions will provide clues (and we’ll provide lots of information at the end).
Now, encourage the students to extend their “close looking” skills with information gathered through research into these questions:
- If you were told this was found on a beach, how did it get there?
- Is the blue colour significant?
- Does this object come in other colours? If so, how are the other colours significant?
- Why is this translucent? Was it always translucent?
- Originally, this object had sharp edges. How did the edges become dull?
- Can you predict the age of this object?
From a small object, many lessons are born – a lesson in how to search for information, a history lesson, a science lesson, and a vocabulary lesson focused on descriptive words.
And it all started by taking a close look.
Click here for all you need to know about this object
For more conversations about education, please visit:Beyond the Apple . . . Reframing Conversations in Education or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org