In my post about C.S.I. last November, I talked about the Visible Thinking routines that are outlined in Harvard’s Project Zero. Another one of these routines is called, “3-2-1 Bridge.” This is kind of a deeper version of a KWL chart. For “3-2-1” Bridge, students write their initial ideas about a topic, then learn more, write their new ideas about the topic, and then find a connection (the bridge) between the initial and new ideas.
I’ve used this routine a couple of times with different grade levels. Today, my 5th graders used it to discuss the topic of “Choices” in The Giver. I was fortunate to find this Google Doc created by Heather Marshall that enriched the discussion by linking to various other resources addressing the topic. The activity launched an incredible conversation in my class regarding choices. We went from, “It’s terrible that they don’t have any choices in The Giver community,” to deep and thoughtful considerations about why people might prefer to not have choices, who should determine choices, how pressure can instigate poor choices, and whether or not safety is more important than choice.
Here is a link to a simple 3-2-1 Bridge Template that you can use. This can be done together as a class, on Post-It notes on large chart paper, or individually. Younger students may have difficulty with the concept of using analogies, but they can still compare the topic to something else. This is one of those activities that I like to call, “self-differentiated,” because all students can participate while taking it to different levels of understanding.