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Notice and Note and the First Full Week

It is no secret to anyone that reads my blog, I am a huge fan of Notice and Note. I am a fan of the conversations and realizations my students have as they are reading with purpose. I have been incredibly blessed as an educator to have many of my student for 3 years now. This week I was so excited to jump right in to Notice and Note. I was reading our read aloud Patron Saints of Nothing and students in class where jumping right in to things, writing in their journals as I asked what they were hearing as I read kids where mentioning the Contrast and Contradictions they were seeing in the family dynamic and writing about it. That is when I noticed another student, new to the class, was pretty confused. In a moment of completed error I had neglected to work through some review/introduction with those less familiar. In the excitement that I had 20+ students from last year and all the awesome we were going to showcase as we looked at texts I jumped the gun.

The next day I decided to review with all my classes. The 7s have generally been following the brilliance of the text book and examples of how to teach the signposts. I am venturing into some new territory using other texts this year with my 8s and 9s. To spice it up a bit but also to stretch my own thinking and learning. We are moving through the signposts faster in my 8th and 9th grade classes as it is more a review. For Contrast and Contradiction I used the first chapter of Nightbooks by J.A White. It is a fantastically creepy chapter that had my students engaged and before I walked back to my desk the book was in a students hand to continue reading. The Contrast and Contradictions were clear and my students were able to use them to predict what was going to happen next. A great example of the signpost and how to follow through with the anchor question.

We covered Aha moments, Tough Questions and Again and Again with different picture books. Mr. Nogginbody Gets a Hammer is hilarious I had a room of 15 year olds reading along and the Aha Moment is so easy to identify and after we paused and reflected on the theme. It was easy, fun and everyone could accomplish the task. I followed up with Each Kindness and this was one of my favourite moments of the week. I told the class I wanted them thinking about Aha moments but also Contrast and Contradiction. As I mentioned earlier the inspiration to return to the start was because of visible frustration with the unknown some had having never experienced Notice and Note (I would like to visit with their past teachers), today as we finished the beautiful story of each kindness my students all wrote. I could see the newest member of Room 157 wanted to share but they were hesitant. The idea that wrong no longer exist and that discussion around reading in Room 157 is about sharing ideas is hard to overcome. But she did and identified what she thought was a contrast and contradiction as Chloe and her classmates are mean to the newly arrived Maya, she expected as a new student herself for the kids to first be kind. We then had a great conversation about how this CC lead to an Aha moment later for the character and how these simple pieces of evidence helped us determine both the theme and conflict and provide support from the text.

In the past I have always saved the story I am Not a Number for Tough Questions but also for Orange Shirt day which honours the survivors and remembers the thousands of First Nations students lost to the abuses and harsh conditions of Residential School. This year I decided to use this haunting story for both Tough Questions and Again and Again. Students listened and wrote respectfully and our class conversation was rich as students discussed the contrast and contradiction in the fact that a church, something they have been raised to see as good, inflicted so much harm and how that CC helped them to discuss the text in a more meaningful way looking at racism and inhumane treatment of the innocent children kidnapped and forced to attend these schools.

I took a break from the picture books and had my students look at the short story Raymonds Run. We are still early in the annotative process and I need to model it more and share my thinking but below are some of our examples.

The first full week of school was filled with reading and reflecting and a little writing. Notice and Note is a tool to increase that reflection and dialogue. I love it for that purpose. I am hoping to help my students dive deep into their books as Kylene says and only coming up for air before diving back in.

This year the goal is not to just Notice and Note but to expand and write on a more purposeful level about the things we find. We are looking at texts that do not reflect our lives to better learn about the world. The signposts will come in handy to help us navigate those new ideas.

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