We began our day with a Making Thinking Visual (or Visual Thinking ) Routine- Circle of Viewpoints. The purpose of this routine is to help students focus on and identify different viewpoints. Students were asked to choose a character other than John Wilkes Booth or Abraham Lincoln from the book Chasing Lincoln's Killer and complete a set of prompts.
Prompts for Circle of Viewpoints:
-I am thinking of Lincoln's death from the point of view of (character or players name).
-I think ....(describe the topic from your viewpoint. Make sure to use text evidence to explain your reasoning.
-A question/concern I have from this viewpoint is.........
After some discussions about their responses both in pairs and whole group, I then asked my students to write a letter to someone from that viewpoint. Below are a few of my students reading the letters they wrote.
We did have a discussion about the fact that although there were weapons in the package they were not the ones that killed Lincoln.
We then went to work on our collaborative project, in which we will be comparing/contrasting the version of John Wilkes Booth in our book to other resources. I thought the easiest thing to do at first was to identify James L. Swanson's version of Booth. We did this by working with one of Discovery Education's Spotlight On Strategies (S.O.S.) blog post entitle Whittle it Down. Students were asked to individually write down five words that they felt defined who John Wilkes Booth was based on the book Chasing Lincoln's Killer. Next, students got into groups of three or four to discuss and create a list of only three words that could be used to describe Booth. After that, we created a class list of all the words from our smaller groups. From our class list students were asked to select three words and use text evidence to create a description of Booth. I then pulled out a chart of a Frayer Model that we have used in the past that served as a reminder that we should look for text evidence in Booth's looks, thoughts, and what he has said or did.
Now that we have this process done it is time to look at some other resources on Booth and compare/contrast those versions with James L. Swanson's version. We are so ready to deepen our understanding of who John Wilkes Booth was.