In Penny Kittle and Kelly Gallagher’s new resource, 4 Essential Studies: Beliefs and Practices to Reclaim Student Agency, they discuss using two-page spreads as a way to generate student thinking and prepare for discussions about their reading. They begin by giving students no more direction than to ask that students use the two pages to bring evidence of what they were thinking as they were reading. They then used student models to show different ways readers might show their thinking.
Here are some examples:
Students used lists and categories.
Students used sticky-notes in their books and transferred them to the two-pager.
Students organized their thinking with different colors of sticky-notes.
Students wrote notes and highlighted the main points.
Students took the guiding questions and created their own charts of character, quotes and craft. Making thinking visible is an essential part of any classroom. I love that these authors discuss how this same thinking model can be used in other content areas, such as this one on anatomy.
Some students may require support with such an open-ended activity and this resource provides other options that are more guided, while maintaining the goal of student-generated talk. Here are some guiding questions that might help students get started on their two-page spread:
- Find a gossipy moment in the book.
- Identify the turns in the book.
- Discuss a critical decision made in the chapter or book.
- Capture a shift in your thinking.
- Discuss a minor character of major importance.
- Pick a passage and read it the way the author intended it to be read.
- Identify and discuss the most important word in the passage, chapter, or book.
- Annotate poetry
You can find more student spreads under “Book Love workshop handouts” on http://pennykittle.net
Kittle, Penny, and Kelly Gallagher. 4 Essential Studies: Beliefs and Practices to Reclaim Student Agency. Heinemann, 2021.