Converse. Capture. Construct. Consider.

Today, we started off by thinking about… problems. In preparation for writing about a small moment, a one time when we faced a problem, we brainstormed a list of different types of problems people face.

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By generating this list of problems, students were able to jog their memories and identify a time when they faced a problem. After taking a mental snapshot and zooming in on one moment, students were challenged to recount the story with as much detail as possible, keeping in mind sensory details, thoughts, actions, and words.

Check out this video of Jack Gantos telling about a small moment problem he had. Pay special attention to how he zoomed in on the moment through the use of juicy details and considered the importance of structure as he developed his idea.

After a focused and fabulous time of writing, our learning community came together to find commonality. This quest for connection began as groups of scholars engaged in conversation in an effort to find things they had in common. Foods, family, feet, furry things, favorites, and foreign lands were discussed. Sometimes, rather creative connections were explored, as well. Each commonality was then captured on a card. Once enough cards were collected, groups were able to construct. The challenge was to create a 10- inch tower of cards that could stand for at least 5 seconds. Tough!


While I don’t think these qualities were captured on cards today, it was clear that patience, perseverance, and problem solving are common characteristics of our learning community.

As is true of the building of any construction, card or otherwise, it is important to establish a firm foundation. Likewise, as we embark on our fourth grade journey together and seek to build real and refining relationships with one another, a firm foundation key.

Consider… how is finding commonalities helpful to our classroom learning community?

Check out this house of cards.

Estimate: About how tall do you think it is?

Guinness Book of World Records: Largest Playing Card Structure

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