Giving Students Opportunities to Hold Their Thinking Builds Tracks in the Snow: Part 2

In Part 1 of this series, I mentioned that kiddos’ tracks in the snow can be anything that makes their thinking visible— anything kids write, talk about, make, create, design, or do. When they write, talk about, make, create, design, and do something, they are creating evidence of their thinking—tracks in the snow!

I’m a big believer and doer of student choice—especially in the ways that they hold their thinking and in the ways they share what they know with others. But, while giving choice, it’s also important to model different ways to hold thinking so that students have different go to strategies and techniques. This idea comes from the oldie but goodie, sketch to stretch.

TRY THIS: As kiddos are reading something (could be a short text or something longer ) ask them to noodle around about images that come to mind. This might be an explicit image —a picture on the cover of a book or visuals described across the pages of text. Or, it might be an implicit image —gained by the reader by inferring from the text or connecting text to one’s own experiences. Once they have an image (or two if they prefer) ask them to draw a large outline of the image. Then, as they read. think, and talk ask them to write words, phrases or sentences inside or along the border of the image.

Here’s an example:

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THE BIG TAKE-AWAY: Holding thinking in this way gives readers a space to make their thinking visible in short bursts and it serves as a great reference for them to use when talking to others about big ideas and/or places in the text that were confusing.

For more, check out Chapter 4 in What Are You Grouping For? How to Guide Small Groups Based on Readers—Not the Book.