What is the OWL strategy?
What is Observation in OWL?
What do you notice? As the students are looking at the book, they are noticing and observing numerous aspects of the book. They might notice the setting (time of day, constant place setting; or multiple settings). A child might say, “I observe that the child and father are walking in the snow at night.” Another child might notice that the child is skipping on the farm in the snow in the shadows. They might notice foreshadowing clues (Early in the book a student might notice an owl on the moon, and then later another child sees the owl flying over head.) This is another way to conduct a picture walk since the children are moving their fingers through the text and discussing the book by saying, “I notice… or I observe… something about the pictures.” Sometimes the students notice the words (Type of language used – British English, American English, slangs, use of foreign languages or words that the students do not know.) There is no right or wrong answer in what the students notice or observe.
What is Wonder in OWL?
Turn to the page that you made an observation on, then ask a wonder question. Wonder about stuff! What if…? Why did…? How did…? Where was this happening? When was this was happening? This is the questioning portion. Many of our students know how to ask questions. I want my students to ask a question about the page that they observed or noticed on.
Before Reading the Book
Procedure for OWL:
1. Have one copy of the book.
2. Have the students sit in a circle, this does not work as well in desks or rows.
3. Open the book to the story.
4. Teacher makes an observation about any page in the story. IE, “I notice…I observe…I see… that a boy and his dog are playing outside.”
5. Teacher passes the book to the student sitting next to the teacher. Student 1 makes an observation about any page in the book. Student 1 hands book to Student 2.
6. Every student has an opportunity to make an observation using one of these sentence starters: “I notice…I observe…I see…” The students do not have to use the sentence starters if they do not need them. This scaffolding is there to support learners, not to get in their way. 7. Book returns to teacher.
8. Teacher makes an “I wonder…” statement about the same page she/he made an observation about.
9. Teacher passes the book to the student 1 sitting next to the teacher. Student makes a “I wonder…” about any page in the book. Student 1 hands book to Student 2.
10. Every student has an opportunity to make an I wonder… statement about the same page she/he made an observation about.
During the Reading of the Book.
- Have the students each have a copy of the book, or have the kids partner read, or read the book to your students (Wise Instructional Decisions).
- Decide how the story will be read.
- Remember to make the decision of how to read the book based on these three criteria: 1. number of copies of the book; 2. the reading level of the students; 3. the reading level of the story.
Setting Purpose While Reading the Book
While you are reading today, think about your wonder question and the wonder questions from the other students.
- When we are done reading, we will share our wonder questions and a link to our life. Does this story link to you? Does this story link to another text (Text to Text Connection)? Does this story link to the world?
What is Link to Your Life in OWL?
As students read, they make connections to their life, to other books, or to the world. It is important that students are active thinkers while reading. By encouraging our students to share their ‘links to life’ after reading the text, many students dig into the story deeper. Instead of the student simply saying, “I saw an owl once,” the student might say, “This book helped me remember that spending time with my dad is important and special.” Did both of these students make a connection? Yes. One is deeper though. As students make more connections to their lives and we model connections, the students dig deeper.
After Reading of the Book
Procedures for OWL continued…
11. Put all the books away, EXCEPT ONE book
12. The teacher holds the book and makes a “Link to my Life” statement.
13. Then the teacher passes the book to the student sitting next to the teacher. The student makes a link to my life statement. If necessary the teacher rephrases the link to help the students understand that how the connections are helping them dig deeper into the text while honoring their language and ideas.
14. Continue passing the book the circle until everyone has a chance to share or pass. I allow passing since linking to your own life is personal and private at times.