Sunday, September 15, 2013

Graphic Organizers: The Framing Routine

Graphic organizers.  A teacher's best friend and worst enemy.

I say that because I love using a good graphic organizer, but there are so many out there that this helpful little tool can actually be a bit confusing for students.  Here's an example.  To find main idea, usually we read the text, then look for the main idea and find the supporting details, and when we write, we organize our thoughts by having a main idea with details to back it up.  We don't start with details and figure out the main idea later.  When we were studying main idea last year, my students opened up their reading workbook to a graphic organizer that listed three details on top with the main idea on the bottom.  So naturally they start writing the main idea in the first box, except that was supposed to be the detail.  And let's face it, kids just aren't into details.  It didn't matter that the first box said "detail" instead of "main idea".... none of them took the time to read that.  They were in a hurry and couldn't be bothered with reading the words on the page, just filling in the boxes.   Doesn't Miss B give out some kind of award for who finished first?  She doesn't?  Then why are we doing this?  

I found my go-to [research based] organizer a few years ago.  Actually, the only other organizers I use now are a web or venn diagram.  It's called The Framing Routine and it's from the University of Kansas' Center for Research on Learning.  Our school had a half-day training on The Frame and how to use it.  Our trainer came a couple times and observed each of us completing a Frame with our class.  Then we were Framed and granted our Framing books.

In order to use The Frame "correctly", you're technically supposed to be trained by a certified Framer (I don't know if that's what they are called, but they should be).  It's not difficult, but it is interesting.  To be honest, the training is insightful as to other ways to use the Frame for connecting ideas and uses in the classroom.  However, it appears that KU has taken down the contact information for training, so I'm just going to post my mini-training here.  

It goes like this. The basic organizer part is pretty self-explanatory.  Be sure you (the teacher) fill it out ahead of time so that you and your students don't get off topic.  This is actually a very helpful tip, even though I kind of blew it off the first time I attempted a Frame with my students and it was a small disaster.  Since then I've always completed one ahead of time.  The most important part of the Frame is the "So What?" category.

Reasons I love "The Frame":
1. All the information is on one page
2. It makes a great study guide
3. Students have to figure out why this information is important 
4. I can use it for every subject all the time- from vocabulary to science text to reading skills or math concepts.

Ok, so here's an example of what they look like.  The book has a bunch of versions that you can't find online (I tried, guys), and there are some made for primary students and some for intermediate and/or secondary.

If you can get your hands on the book, it has more info about the research and uses of The Frame. 
Some of them are a bit...pricey ($150?  Really?), but there are a few for around $20.
They are a hot commodity.  

Or you can read a short article about The Framing Routine from the Adolescent Literacy website {here}.

If you want to skip all that pesky research and head straight to the good stuff, you can find a few intermediate frames {here}.  
There are a few more included {here}.

If you're interested in the University of Kansas's other learning strategies and resources, you can go {here}.  They really are awesome.

Read the fine print:   
*I'm not "selling" anything here...although it kind of sounds like it.  I just really love using this strategy.  Plus, there isn't really anything to sell unless you want to buy the book, which doesn't benefit me at all since as you read above, I already own it and am not selling it.  Although if I did, I would sell it for one million dollars.*

**If you really think you might love this, just leave a comment and we can chat more about it.**

***If you are from the university and you are unhappy about me sharing this, then please fix your website link so that I can share it.  Also, I would love for you to train me and then I'll go train everyone else.  Thanks!***


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