Notice and Note: Aha Moments

My students are LOVING learning the signposts from Beers and Probst's Notice and Note book.  I can tell that they are really starting to tune into monitoring their comprehension, and are definitely leaving tracks in their learning.

Today I wanted to share with you a few resources I used when teaching the AHA MOMENT signpost.  I created a tabbed booklet for my Smarties to keep track of their learning.  We write an anchor chart on the right side of the booklet, and then create a t-chart on the left with a few examples from movie shorts and book excerpts.

The AHA moment is when the character realizes or finally understands something he has not known. It is a signpost to help readers recognize conflict and theme.  If the character has an AHA moment where they figure out a problem, then usually you can identify something about the conflict of the story.  When the AHA moment is about a life lesson you have probably learned a theme.  My students grasped this concept fairly quickly, although it is important for them to recognize that the AHA moment for the reader may be different from that of the character, and being aware of this is leaving tracks in their learning.

One powerful short that I used was a video from Jacob Frey called The Present.  You can find it on vimeo.  Watch how powerful it is to teach the signpost.

Another AMAZING video is called Snack Attack

Beers and Probst use excerpts from Jerry Spinelli's Crash to help reinforce the concept.  I have really enjoyed introducing each signpost with a short film or two, and then using a novel to see the words in action.  It has really helped my students understand each concept, and I have seen them quickly pick up on each signpost in their own independent reading as well.

Here are a few other picture books that you can use to teach AHA moments.

Have you read One Green Apple by Eve Bunting?  I LOVE her books!  There are so many amazing things you can do with them!  Even for upper grade students her picture books carry messages with strong themes.  One Green Apple is about a Muslim girl named Farah who has just moved to her new school and is on a field trip to an apple orchard.  She feels lonely and isolated, but soon comes to realize she has more in common with her classmates than she originally believed.  It is such a powerful story for students who have ESL in their classrooms!
(Link to Amazon)
I also love books by Chris Van Allsburg.  One of my favorites is The Stranger.  I love to read this book in the fall, and using it for AHA moments is a great experience because the Stranger never talks in the book.  You have to recognize his AHA moment by his facial expressions.  I also love it because your students don't recognize the AHA moment before the character, but once they realize it they can find evidence in the text that supports it.  These are real reading moments, and students are very eager to leave tracks in their learning with this book!
Link to Amazon
If you want to learn more about how I am teaching the Signposts, you can check out this post on Contrasts and Contradictions {HERE}.  
Keep reading friends!


  1. Thank you for the great links to videos that support the aha moments. Sometimes searching for a video is so time-consuming, not because I get distracted with other videos or anything. Appreciate the post!

  2. Chris Van Allsburg helps grow readers who make great inferences. I like to follow up "The Stranger" with "The Wreck of the Zephyr." It's great to watch students go from confusion to "Oh, now I get it!".

  3. This looks great! Thank you for sharing such great ideas. Do you have anything for Again and Again? ESLis the best....

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by! I am working on further blog posts for each signpost. I've been caught up in school activities. Stop back soon!


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