Moving beyond IDEA notebooks, we should also have students keep OBSERVATION NOTEBOOKS, a place to write rich details of what they observe. How does that flower look, smell, feel? What makes that person’s face so distinct? How does that black lab look different than other black labs? By writing observations in a notebook or in a computer file, students will boost their ability to write better descriptions. Have them use the Observation Handout below.
In the video above, which can be shown directly to students, I tell where I got the idea for these notebooks, I model how to use an Observation Notebook, and I give examples of my observations of a painting, blueberry barren, and garden frog.
Have your students write their own observations and share them with each other. Which details did a student use and why? Were they the best details? Were any details missing that might have added to the observation?
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