Purpose: What kind of thinking
does this routine encourage?
This routine is about distinguishing facts from thoughts and judgments.
It helps organize ideas and feelings in order to consider a situation
where fairness may be at stake. It promotes the fine discernment
of information and perspective taking in order to clarify and make
a tentative judgment.
Application: When and Where can
it be used?
Students can use the reporter’s notebook in any number of
situations: when discussing imagined or real moral dilemmas, topics
from history, literature, or science; after reading a chapter, watching
a video or performance; or when thinking about actual events from
their own life, etc. This routine is most useful “mid-investigation”,
after some information about a given situation has already been
put on the table. Maybe things are getting convoluted, there are
disagreements, or perhaps when opinions are taken as facts, or when
things are getting “messy”. Use the routine to go deeper
into an issue to clarify thoughts about it OR to even clarify what
the issue is.
Launch: What are some tips for starting
and using this routine?
in small groups using the recording sheet on the following page.
Students are asked to imagine they are a newspaper reporter in order
to differentiate the facts of a given event or topic from involved
characters’ thoughts and feelings. The stance of a reporter
helps students clarify issues and points of agreement and disagreement
by getting distance from their own perspective or initial understanding
of a given situation. Draw a 4x4 grid. Along the top write “Clear”
and “Need to Check.” Down the side write Facts &
Events and Thoughts & Feelings. List responses
in the appropriate portion of the grid. Make sure kids talk about
the characters, not their own thoughts or feelings. Once the notebook
is completed, routine asks the students to make an informed judgment.