Throughout this winter and spring, our students have used multiple thinking routines to help make thinking visible. We recently used a routine named "Step Inside" to help us understand Baby Bear's perspective in the Goldilocks story, and used a routine named "I used to think, but now I think" to explain how our thinking about this traditional story changed after reading several versions.
This week, we used a new thinking routine this week entitled "The Explanation Game." Using mystery boxes containing animals and pictures of landforms, the children worked in groups to name their objects and make connections between the objects.
The idea behind the mystery boxes is that they would foster investigation as children looked closely at their objects, offer questions and explanations that could lead to connections between them. After a rich discussion, many of the children made the connection between their animals and a place, leading us to look closer at a world map and find landforms. Later this week, we introduced the app Barefoot Atlas and many children explored continents further for landforms, landmarks and animals. This was a great launch for our animal atlas project, wherein the children will use a variety of resources (atlases, animal books, apps like Barefoot Atlas, Montessori Animals and more) to name and investigate a few animals for each continent.