In 2004 I graduated with my masters degree (boy, was that a TON of work!). It took me 4 years of part-time classes and working my buns off during summer holidays.
My final project (think classroom research and my first, only and last book) was about critical literacy in the primary grades.
It was a very cool topic. In a nutshell, what I did was explore whether or not 6 and 7 year olds were capable of becoming more critical readers and thinkers. I wanted to know if they were able to adopt a critical perspective towards social issues texts.
One of the ways I tried to determine this, was by reading them a book that in some way pushed the socially accepted boundaries. After listening to a story we sat in a circle (me with my tape recorder in hand) and we had book talks that revolved around the children's thoughts, comments and questions. I was seriously amazed at how insightful some of these children were.
Here are some of the books I used:
You're probably wondering why I'm even telling you this.
To be honest, after I finished my degree I was so burned out that I just wanted to teach and forget about all this stuff. While I often read books that will challenge my students' perspectives, I haven't seriously gotten back to those wonderful book talks we had, full of amazing questions that mostly came from the students. I know, I know....
UNTIL....this last week. Here's why: CM School Supply contacted me about a month ago and asked if I'd be interested in reviewing one of their products. Well of course I said yes :) because I'm a teacher and I love free stuff! However, I had no idea what they'd be sending me.
When I opened the package last week I found these:
A.S.K. cards (Actively Seeking Knowledge).
Well, guess what? These little cards pushed me into having book talks with my kids again. I'm talking about the BIG, DEEP book talks, where everyone expresses their opinion, they talk to each other, they respond and react to their friends' comments and they don't put up their hands! They just talk. I feel like I should have been handing out appies and glasses of wine ~ ha ha ~ okay, maybe pop.
We've now had two fabulous conversations about two amazing books (I'm going to write more about these books later):
All I did was pick a couple of very-open ended questions from the ASK cards and the kids flew with them!
Here's what you GET:
* 12 laminated cards attached to a ring (English on one side, Spanish on the other)
* 8 of the cards have key questions for easy reference
* 3 Essential Questions
* Open Ended Questions
* Asking How and Why Questions
* Encourage Problem Solving
* Encourage Prediction
* Classifying-Comparing Questions
* Questions to Foster Creative Thinking
Why I HONESTLY LIKE them:
1. The cards can be used with any subject (I personally prefer to use them with literature)
2. They come on a ring so they're easy to hang on your chart stand, ready to use at a moment's notice
3. The cards are sturdy and relatively child-proof
4. The questions are very open-ended and are best used as a way to jump start a genuine discussion around your chosen topic
5. The cards can be used by older students if you're interested in reciprocal teaching. Once the younger children are used to hearing these types of questions they'll start using them on their own.
I hope this didn't sound like an ad, but I really do like these cards. If you click on one of the links above you can visit CM School Supply and check them out yourself:)
Take care, friends, and have a great day!