When using books loaded with important facts, I find that it is easy for my students to become overwhelmed. To help keep them on track, I have students create FQR charts. I learned about FQR charts in a class I took last school year. (F = facts, Q = questions, R = responses)
My students created the FQR charts in their reader's notebooks. The first time we started using the charts, we completed most of the chart together. With time, students have begun to create the charts more independently.
In the "facts" column, we work on only including the most important information. We discuss how we are not just writing down the first fact we see. These facts need to be meaningful. (Always working on determining importance - such a tricky skill!) For the "questions" column, we focus on writing quality questions. These should not be questions we could find in the text. We also try to move away from superficial questions to deeper, richer questions. With the "response" column, students write their opinion, or reaction, to what they read.
With each book or story, I also like to work on a written response. I usually just have students write the question in their reader's notebooks. Sometimes we answer the question together, and other times students answer the question independently. As we get ready for the state tests, we are really working on going back and proofreading our answers. (They are getting better. Only one mistake in the example above!)
If you would like a FQR graphic organizer to try for yourself, click on the image above! Once I tried this type of chart, I was officially hooked. It is such a simple concept, but it really keeps the students focused and helps them organize the information in a meaningful way.
Does anyone else use FQR charts with their students? I would love to hear what you do, or if you have any other great ways to organize information!