Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Movie in Your Mind

When I was in seventh grade I remember my teacher reading the Gary Paulsen book Hatchet. (All this time and I didn't know he was born in my hometown until just now when I looked up how to spell his last name. In Minnesota there are many Paulsons/Paulsens, Andersons/Andersens, Olsons/Olsens.)

In the book, the protagonist has to survive in Canada with only a hatchet. I remember one part vividly where he has to get his own food and I remember making connections to my own life. To this day I can still remember how I felt landing in the icy water and finding my own shelter.

Edited with GIMP

In the first of the 7 Keys to Comprehension is that of a "Motion Picture of the Mind". When talking about reading in the past, I have always told my students to "paint a picture in my mind". When I say that phrase I always get this image of an impressionist painting that is bleeding paint and the colors are almost swirling around.

Do my students see that?
What do they see?
Have I told them what I see?

When talking about the "Motion Picture of the Mind", Zimmerman and Hutchins stress the importance of talking with children about what you are seeing as you read.

So I have started stopping when I read stories to my class and taking turns telling them what I see, and asking what they see.

After doing this for about a month, I want to try another suggestion from the book. I will have them act out short scenes that we read. (And we are reading short books, so it will be quick.)

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