by Carly Lehnhart
Glacier Valley Elementary, 2nd grade
Artful Thinking has become such a natural part of my teaching. I have found that it sneaks its way into everything. I continue to be amazed at the engagement and effort that my students put in during and after a Thinking Routine. It brings the focus back to the process and emphasizes curiosity and critical thinking skills, which are two things that I strive to facilitate. One way in which Artful Thinking has made a huge impact for me and my students is in science. I have always used science notebooks as a way of recording our observations and findings, but this year, they have been a lot more successful. I am realizing that Artful Thinking is what I have to thank for that. My students are structuring their observations and notes in ways that are mirroring and combining a lot of the routines that we have tried. Without leading them in a formal routine, I find that they are using the language that has been modeled when they make notes in their science notebooks. Woohoo!
I have been loving using Artful Thinking as an introduction to a unit to spark interest and identify our background knowledge, as well as at the end of units as assessments. This specific lesson was kind of in the middle.
My students had just been to DIPAC to learn about mollusks. They had been introduced to what a clam was, gotten to see one, and had an overview of the parts. A couple of days later, a parent showed up in the morning with a bucket full of clams and asked if I wanted to use them. I obviously threw out the old plans and quickly came up with an idea of how to use them in my classroom. Artful Thinking immediately came to mind. I started out with a See/ Think /Wonder with this picture. This is a routine that we do A LOT.
I started the lesson doing a Looking 10 x 2 Thinking Routine. They immediately forgot about the picture, because a live clam on your table is way more interesting.
1st look: Quick and simple. They had about 3 minutes to write down words, phrases, or sentences about the clam in front of them. Some second graders struggled with this, so it turned out to be more like 5x2 for some. Here is an example of one students 1st look:
Gaining information when the interest is there…
Then we came back together as a class and shared some of the things that we noticed. We then read some informational text about clams and looked in depth at a labeled clam drawing. We went over the different parts of a clam and added these vocab words to our word wall. Their next task was to go back to the same paper and draw a scientific drawing of their clam.
2nd look: Observational drawing…
I gave them 10 minutes for this. While they were drawing a lot of them were getting excited to tell me that they were finding the different parts, so some of them chose to label their picture at this time.
3rd look: 10 x 2 (this was a longer observational writing time)
After the 10 minutes were up, they went back for another look. This time I told them I was going to give them 10 minutes to write down 10 things that they think of or see when they look at the clam in front of them. The engagement of my students came from the structure and the time that Artful Thinking puts in place for simple observations. My students have gotten to the point through very formal whole class Artful Thinking experiences, and now I have taken away the supports of me leading a discussion and left it to them at their tables while drawing or writing observations. Here are some student samples:
A collection of JSD teachers' arts integration classroom experiences