Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Lazy Sunday Review...

What a beautiful southeast Texas Sunday!  It makes me excited for spring...and Spring Break!!

I wanted to share with you an activity I did with my 5th grade Alternative Learning Time group.  ALT groups, in our district, are used as reteach moments for students who are struggling or enrichment for students who are on the right track.

My lesson for my ALT group students involved reviewing and reteaching how to "infer".  This is just such a difficult concept for students to grasp!  It's also one of the things that we ALL do EVERY DAY...several times a day!!  But when it is put in the context of education, children just don't "get it"!!!

With this group, I'm having to revisit the concrete before we can move on to the abstract, i.e. STAAR test question stems and practice materials.

Of course, I started with an anchor chart...because, well, I love them and it's so totally the way I teach.
Sorry for the "sideways" pic!  I now work out of a small office instead of a regular classroom.  Once I add a table and students, there is no room to maneuver and take a full-frontal anchor chart pic!!  Essentially, we talked about what infer means:  what we already know PLUS what we learn.  In fifth grade, students must infer through generalizing, predicting, and drawing conclusions.  That was our concrete focus.  Oddly enough, my group came up with an acronym for the chart:  Gus Plays Dodgeball! They know I love my funky ways of teaching!!

After much discussion and examples, I had an "on the fly" moment!  Why not have students create a quick foldable with this big stack of extra paper strips I have???  "Why yes", I said to myself, "I think I will!!!"  So, I grabbed an handful of paper strips, and some paper clips, and "Mobiliarbus" (Harry Potter, people!), here is what we created:

The closed strips list how we infer (know+learn), and each type of inference (generalize, predict, draw conclusions).  When students opened each strip, they wrote the definition of the term:

 generalize=we talk about the group
 predict=an educated guess; what we think is going to happen
draw conclusions=come up with a new thought

The whole paper clip thing came up because I couldn't find my ball of twine, or any yarn, and I only have 45 minutes to work with these kiddos.  I did, however, have a massive bag of old paper clips from the last 13 years!!!!!!!  Some of them even had rubber bands melted to them! The kids had so many comments about "paper clip boogers" that I couldn't help but crack up!!

"Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions.  All life is an experiment."--Ralph Waldo Emerson

My classroom life is nothing but one!!!!  Happy Sunday!



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