The Popcorn Thinking Lesson
Imagine those nights that you wake up with an idea and say to yourself, "Self, don't forget this tomorrow!" Inevitably, you go back to sleep and wake up having NO IDEA what that idea was, but you know it was a good one! If only you had jotted it down in the middle of the night!! That is exactly what happens with our students sometimes... but during the day... in our classrooms...
Last week my students planned new essays with "boxes and bullets", as they usually do. Our prompt was very closely related to our science standards (historic scientists as contributors) and reading standards (biographies). They were prompted to write about scientists and inventors and explain why they are so important. After creating their plans, students moved into drafting and were encouraged to think about the content we had studied both in science and reading workshop. While conferring, I noticed SO many students thinking about interesting ideas for their essay. This is great, and all, but there was a BIG problem!
THEY DIDN'T WRITE THESE IDEAS DOWN!!!
I just couldn't let that happen!! My initial reaction was to jump up and shout out, "NOOOO!!! Don't let it go!!! Write it down!!!" Of course, I didn't do that. But I DID pause students after a moment to have a mid-workshop mini-lesson. The first thought that came to mind was that ideas had "POPPED" into their minds, much like popcorn. It reminds me of those late night ideas we get in the middle of the night that we SHOULD have jotted down. I wanted to be sure that students didn't let go of those ideas, but instead jotted them down quickly in their original plan.
Because I wanted a tangible, concrete connection to this concept, I immediately thought about using popcorn. I was really and truly so passionate about this popcorn idea that I started searching my cabinets for popcorn, as though I would right then and there have a mini-lesson with actual popcorn. But, alas, I had no popcorn. So I ended up using yellow and white pop cubes as a brief substitute. It was fine for the purposes of this lesson, but I started thinking about other parts of our day where this lesson (with actual, buttery popcorn) might prove beneficial.
"Readers, just like writers, often have ideas that pop into our minds. Sometimes we may not even notice what our brains are naturally doing. Today I want to teach you how to notice those ideas and, more importantly, how to hold tight to them. In front of you are a few piece of popcorn. As I read aloud, you will listen to your inner voice. When you have an idea "POP" into your mind, you'll gently toss a piece of popcorn to the middle of the rug. For every piece of popcorn you toss, you'll jot about your idea. What expectations should we remember?"
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Welcome! I am Casey Watts- Collaborative Leader and Culture Changer!