Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ordering, Sequencing, Organizing

Happy December everyone! I can't believe we've already passed through Thanksgiving and that it is almost time for Winter Break :)

This time of year, things can pile up pretty quickly at school. There is always a rush to finish up that math unit, complete the read aloud book or writing assignment, and finish up with our Social Studies theme before we all go off for a lovely vacation! I know a lot of teachers (including me) hate heading off for a 1-2 week break in the middle of a concept. I always like to start fresh in the new year!

In my classroom, we have been doing a lot of work with sequencing and retelling during our reading time. I began by introducing some ordering words to the kids by retelling my morning with the words "first, next, then, after that, finally".

Ex: First, I woke up and ate breakfast. Next, I washed my face and brushed my teeth. Then, I got dressed. After that, I got in my car and drove to school. Finally, I arrived at school.

I had the kids pair up and tell each other the sequence of their mornings using these ordering words. Then, kids retold their partners' morning routines.

After the students became familiar with using the ordering words, I read A Letter To Amy by Ezra Jack Keats. As a group, we used the ordering words to retell the story out loud. The next day, I read The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins. After finished reading the story aloud, I broke the class into four small groups. Each group got "cookies" with elements of the story written on the back:

I asked the groups to talk together about how to order the events in the story. I reminded them to think about "first, next, then, after that, finally". I walked around to each group and checked their sequencing. They all did a fantastic job! As a group, we decided which "cookies" belonged underneath the correct ordering words:

I find it is helpful for my students to grasp concepts if they are overlapped throughout the curriculum. Students are currently working on expository writing in the form of an interview. After students drafted questions that they wanted to ask their interviewees about a topic (based on research that we have been doing in the classroom), children recorded their partner's responses.

Before we began writing out our interviews in paragraph form, we talked about how to organize a non-fiction paragraph. We brainstormed what we knew about paragraphs and came up with these ideas:

- there is a introduction or topic sentence
- there are supporting details
- there is a conclusion or an ending sentence

I then had the kids break into small groups. Each group got a paragraph (similar to the activity seen here) where the sentences were cut into strips and rearranged. The students had to work together to organize the paragraph in a way that made sense based on what we know about paragraph structure.

Once the students got the idea about paragraph structure, they completed a graphic organizer (similar format seen here) to help them plan out their writing. To model how it should work, I made an anchor chart with some of the interview information that we collected:

When the kids finish the graphic organizers, they will draft a short expository piece and follow the writing process (demonstrated on the pencil in this previous post ). We are also experimenting with a new way to do peer conferences: TAG!

Kids pair up with their writing and give the following notes to their partner: 

T- Tell the author something you like about their writing.
A-  Ask the author a question about their writing.
G- Give the author a positive suggestion.

Before the kids move into the teacher conference, they must consider what information was passed along to them in the peer conference and make revisions. Then, they meet with me for the final edit!

 Even though we are almost halfway through the school year (crazy!), we are never done learning to be a classroom community that respects and cares for each other. I had been noticing some social issues (particularly with the girls in my class) with excluding, among other things. I decided that it was time to introduce a "sticky situation" container:

Kids can anonymously write a short description of any tricky social issue that they have dealt with (without using any names). Each Friday, I select one from the container and my assistant teacher and I model what occurred. We then ask the class what they noticed about what happened in the situation, and what suggestions or strategies they have to make the situation better. Then, kids can volunteer to act out the situation using the suggestions or strategies that were collected by the group. Hopefully, this will inspire kids to not only do the right thing in social situations, but learn how to advocate for themselves when something "sticky" comes up before they enlist the help of a teacher!

Let's hope this brings EVEN more peace and joy to our classroom (and the world) during the upcoming holiday season! 

No comments:

Post a Comment

© City Teacher Country Teacher. Powered by