Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~Elizabeth Stone

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Teachin' Tuesdays

I have been reading lots of blogs these days and have noticed that quite a few bloggers have memes that they post on certain days of the week. Now being that I am not always too smart I was confused for awhile about what meme could possible be (also, I am not always so hip to the technological lingo). Then I put my 7 years of French Immersion schooling to use and remembered that "meme" means "the same" and all was figured out by me! Whew, right?

On a side note, my husband says that sometimes when I talk I sound a lot stupider than I really am because I am one of the smartest people he know (awww) and I am pretty sure the paragraph above might be one of those instances.

Anyway, to end that crazy tangent I have been considering some of these memes and trying to figure out if I would like to incorporate any of them into my blog. I have decided that I may join in on some on them but I also want to start my own!

On my ever present quest to be a better teacher, and eventually segue into the role of librarian and resource teacher, I am interested in sharing teaching strategies that work well for me and, hopefully, learning from others out there what works well for them! To without further delay, here it is...Teachin' Tuesdays.

This first week's Teachin' Tuesday is going to be a pre-reading strategy that I like to use in the content areas when I start a new unit. I find it is especially useful for the enduring understandings and the common themes that fall within a content area unit. The outline before is from a reading strategies workshop I led a few years ago. It explains how the strategy works and the professional resource where I found it.

Possible Sentences- Pre-Reading Strategy

- adapted from Mastering the Art of Effective Vocabulary Instruction, Adolescent Literacy- Turning Promise Into Practice, J. Allen, p. 87- 104

- when students have prior knowledge of the vocabulary [in a unit] this strategy “gives students the immediate opportunity to use their knowledge of [the] words to predict possible sentences they will find when they read” (Allen p.99)
1. Students should have some knowledge of the words they will be using for Possible Sentences. Teachers could use the Tea Party (When Kids Can't Read by Kylene Beers) strategy to introduce the words to the students. 

2. Teachers create a list of important vocabulary words from the reading text or unit of study. This strategy works best for non-fiction or in the content areas.
3. Students are given the Possible Sentences worksheet with the list of vocabulary words and space to create their sentences.
4. Students choose 2 or more words to write in a sentence predicting how they think those words will be used in the context of their reading. 
5. Teachers can ask the class to share their “possible sentences” orally, or record on chart paper/overhead.
6. Students then read the assigned text. As they read they check their predicted sentences against the content of the text. 
7. If their predictions are accurate in terms of context (not word-for-word) students highlight the sentence with a check or a circle.
8. If the sentence is inaccurate, students then revise their sentences for accuracy in terms of the text.

Here is an example that I have used in my Grade 8 Geography class for our Economics unit.

The students were given these words:
economic activity

goods and services

...and they were asked to make sentences that show how 2 or more words relate to each other in a sentence.
1. Economic activities involve the production and distribution of goods and services.
2. Society is required to make decisions about how technology should be used.

After the students have spent some time studying the content they can go back and check how right they were with their possible sentences, or correct any misconceptions they had before starting. Just wait, you'll be surprised at how profound some of the student's sentences can be.

Photo Credit:

Next week..Possible Sentences' cousin- Probable Passages.

4 Thinks and Thoughts of Others:

SB said...

OMG what a great meme idea!!

p.s. until this post I was equally in the dark and wondering what the heck a meme was (even asked my hubby)...shhh....

I am stealing this reading strategy *okay?????
Yippee...When I feel confident enough that I can come up with good reading strategies maybe I will hop on the band wagon. That is, when I go back to work!!! (and NOT before!)

Beth said...

Steal away...that's my whole plan. I can't wait till you are back at work so we can share, AND NOT BEFORE.

Molly said...

Great minds think alike! I had written my "in the classroom with Mrs. Totoro" post over the weekend - scheduled to post on Wednesday :)

I am not sure that I will commit to weekly - although I love this idea - but I do plan to update periodically.

I look forward to reading your teachin' tuesdays throughout the semester!

Beth said...

Molly, I laughed to myself when I read your Wednesday post...maybe we knew each other in another life! I am excited to hear more of your ideas as well.

Last Words...

Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one's thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe