Friday, June 27, 2014

Revolutionary War: Observation Charts

Before I start a unit (especially social studies or science) I always use an observation chart to get my students thinking, brainstorming, and discussing. It is a great way to get my students focused and motivated. The observation chart is a GLAD (Guided Language Acquisition Design) strategy.

An observation chart is a type of inquiry chart that stimulates a student's curiosity, builds background information while providing the teacher with a diagnostic tool, it also provides opportunity for language support from peers.

  • I find real photos in color (if possible) on the Internet, magazines, and books that pertain to the topic of study. 
  • I then glue the photos on a large piece of construction paper. Usually no more than five on one page. I laminate the charts so I can use them year after year.
  • I attach a white piece of paper on the chart for students to write their observation, question, or comment.
  • I have my students work in groups to discuss the pictures. Once they have finished their discussion they choose to write down: an observation, a question, or a comment on the white paper. Each group has a specific color marker (this allows me to visually see what the groups are coming up with and make sure each group is represented on the charts).
The charts allow me to assess the background knowledge they are coming to the lesson with and what their interests are in regards to the topic. I keep the charts posted throughout the unit and we constantly revisit the charts to monitor growth.

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  1. This is a wonderful idea! It's a great way to incorporate primary sources, too. There are so many ways to adapt this. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Your welcome! Yes! It is such a great way to get students to work with primary source documents!


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