I generated this form a couple years ago as a way for students to think critically about non-fiction topics in a non-threatening, brief format. It was developed with reluctant readers and writers in mind.
As a gifted and talented resource teacher, I always have some students who are identified gifted and talented yet avoid writing. These students might be full of information and eager to contribute to class discussions with proclamations of “I saw on the History Channel . . .” Left to their own devices, however, I find them writing brief responses (or no response at all) which do not reflect a student’s level of engagement or knowledge about a topic.
With this form, students must make judgements about what they’ve read, prioritize and identify main points, and synthesize their “take-aways” into brief statements. In addition, students must consider areas of interest into which their original topic might be extended.
Though this one page form seems sort of easy breezy on the surface, it requires mental gymnastics and critical thinking skills.
No, this form does not encourage detailed responses, so let’s give our students the opportunity to share their knowledge in an additional presentation—if not with the whole class, then in a discussion with the teacher.
I do not advocate using this form every time; however, it provides a break from other written avenues of response. I do believe in grit, and I do believe in the importance of detailed written responses. Must we always choose the avenue of detailed writing?