Your Favorite Activity

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by chemteach55, Jul 16, 2010.

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  1. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Jul 17, 2010

    This is a great thread. Thanks for starting it. I really do need explanations of the activity though, I am new to teaching.

    Now and then if the students have been good I will let them play Sparkle spelling game. You can Google it for directions. The kids seem to really like it and its a good review before a test.
     
  2. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jul 17, 2010

    The books are at school, so I don't have the titles here. The books were relatively simple (they didn't have much time). One is about a girl who sets on an an errand for her mother and gets lost in a blizzard, another is an adventure about a boy who gets lost in the woods. I've also used Stone Fox, but haven't given out the last chapter to a group--I've saved that and read it to the class after all groups have presented. I chose simple books because I wanted the focus to be on how to share the information, not on trying to determine what is important and what isn't (which is difficult when you are only dealing with a snippet of information). I'm going to be going through some of my books next week, and if I come across any that would be suitable, I'll post.
     
  3. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Jul 17, 2010

    What grade is this, Mrs. C?
     
  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    The books I mentioned were done with a grade 5 and a grade 6 class. I'll be looking for ones to use with my grade 7s and 8s.
     
  5. teach1st

    teach1st Comrade

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    Jul 17, 2010

    One of my favorites is when we learn to write letters. We read the book Alexander and the Horrible, Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Then we write letters to Alexander.

    MrsC. I love your novel a day idea. Now I am trying to figure out how we could do that with a picture book.

    I am loving these ideas!!! What is great about it, is you don't have to be a certain grade level to talk about great activities. All you have to do is put some thought into it and switch it for your grade level!
     
  6. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Jul 18, 2010

    I love this activity too and plan to use it this year. I teach second grade also and have several chapter books in mind along with some old books I really could rip apart. I think Junie B. Jones books or A-Z Mysteries would fit the bill. I'd be flexible with how many groups, if the book had only 5 chapters, I'd have 5 groups.

    I also have these favorite activities:

    play writing with paper bag puppets and shows

    We read Blue Moose in Junior Great Books, we eat homemade bread, gingerbread with applesause and whipped cream, clam chowder, they also develop their own menus for a resturant.

    Daily "Weather Broadcasts" with a book talk about their favorite book

    Egg incubating project, where we do an egg drop (not our incubating eggs), they get a plastic egg and have to keep it warm for 24 hours, naked egg (placed in half water/vinegar (lots of predictions), balance Encyclopedias on four eggs to see how many they can hold, they also keep a journal on their egg where they name it and make birth announcements.

    Of course we have Mystery Readers, Star of the Week, Einstein Club...

    We're also avid chess players and compete against other schools.

    Author studies

    Photo journals, I take LOTS of pictures during the year, print them in black and white on the school computer, and then hand out the pictures to the kids where they tape them in their journal, write the date, what they're doing, and who's in the pictures. At the end of the year they have a folder filled with pictures, great writing, and a wonderful keepsake.

    Class stuffed animal with journal, I buy a new stuffed animal at the beginning of the, set up my calendar for each kid to have him on a weekend. They take the journal home, take pictures and post them if they want to, and they write about their adventures with the stuffed animal. They read and report on Monday morning.

    Valentine Robots... they design and decorate boxes for their valentine cards.

    Of course there's the Watermelon Project, estimating, art with seeds, eating, seed spitting contest, division (how to cut it in 20 pieces), class book with their stories and writing

    There's more... we're a busy class and I love to have FUN too
    .
     
  7. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Jul 18, 2010

    Hoot, can you tell me about the Chess? Do they come into the room knowing how to play? Do you teach them? Is it after school? Anything you can tell me about this would be great, because I am thinking about starting a chess club down the road...thanks.
     
  8. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    Jul 18, 2010

    My favorite is Quiz Quiz Trade. It’s fun, it’s fast, it’s useful.

    What you need:

    •A set of questions and answers printed or written out on cards.
    •One card for each student.
    •About five minutes.
    You can create the cards, or let students do this, or you can do it yourself using index cards or a table in Word.

    Procedure:

    •Teacher announces: Quiz Quiz Trade
    •Students:
    •Find a partner.
    •Student 1 asks Student 2 the question on the card.
    •Student 2 either answers it or says I don’t know. (It is important to the speed of the game that students admit when they don’t know)
    •Student 1 either congratulates Student 2 or goes over the answer.
    •Student 2 then repeats the procedure with Student 1.
    •Student 1 and Student 2 trade cards and find a new partner.
    •I usually let students play Quiz Quiz Trade for about 5 minutes.
    They know I will stop the game immediately at the first sign of inappropriate behavior, and since they love it that is enough to keep this activity running smoothly.

    When I introduce the game, I have two students come stand at the front of the room, and wallk them through the process I have written out above. I review “deal-breakers” which for me include: running, refusing to take a question from a classmate, faces made at classmates, anything derogatory or rude, anything that is not class/topic related.

    I usually monitor by wandering through the milling crowd with a card. Some students like to ask me the questions, so I always carry a card.

    I learned this strategy at a Kagan Cooperative Learning workshop, and if you ever get the opportunity to attend one I highly recommend it!
     
  9. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    Jul 18, 2010

    Lynn, could you tell us more about the one hour mysteries? Thanks!
     
  10. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Jul 18, 2010

    It wouldn't bother me at all to tear up a Junie B. book :lol:.

    I think the A-Z Mysteries is a great idea because each chapter would have clues and it could lead up to reading the last chapter to the whole class and find out the mystery.

    I am definitely going to use this next year as well-my kids will love it! Even just in getting together and deciding what kind of medium to use will be exciting for them! Thanks for sharing Mrs C!
     
  11. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jul 18, 2010

    No problem! :D I don't remember where I found the idea, but it's not an original.

    Just a word of warning...some will be frustrated by not knowing what comes before their chapter and need some reassurance that it will all become clear.
     
  12. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    Jul 18, 2010

    I love it!!!!
     
  13. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    Jul 18, 2010

    At Thanksgiving time, the kids take home a drawing of a turkey and get their parents' help disguising the turkey so it won't be eaten. They also write a persuasive letter to try and talk people out of eating turkey this year.

    After reading "Dear Mr. Blueberry," a story about a girl who thinks she has a blue whale in her backyard pond, we take rulers outside and line them up end to end to measure how long a blue whale gets. It provides a great visual for the kids!

    Each Friday a different child takes home our class mascot (a stuffed animal the class names) and a journal to write about their adventures. The child is Star of the Week the following week and gets to do different things each day (like read a book to the class, choose to sit at the teacher's desk, etc.)

    SWAT: I have vocabulary words displayed on the screen up front and give two kids a fly swatter. They face away from the board, and when I call out a clue and say GO, they race to swat the right word. My kids love this game!

    We play Cherry Pie with Spelling Words all the time, so we made up a silly version we call Math Pi. The first child says a number from 0 - 10. The next child says PLUS or MINUS. The next child says another number from 0 - 10. The next child says EQUALS. The next child gives the correct answer. The next child says MATH PI. The next child is out.

    Saltwater Experiment: After discussing liquids, solids, and gases, we put a lot of salt in a little bit of water in a clear glass, mark the water line on the outside of the cup, and wait to see what happens over the next week. The kids are amazed as the water disappears and salt crystals cling to the side and top of the cup. And then, finally, one day the only thing left is salt!
     
  14. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Jul 18, 2010

    My two favorite activities:

    Count the cans: I have empty soda cans grouped into the standard pack sizes, then those packs grouped in random numbers, and of course, singles. I have several groups of each size. For example, I might have a stack of 4-12packs on one corner and another pack of 7-12 packs somewhere else. I'll also have groups of 6 packs and 24 packs, and singles in various places. The assignment is to tell me how many individual soda cans are in the room. When they are done, we talk about how they counted not th individual cans, but the groups, then multiplied and then added in, oddly enough, the correct sequence of the order of operations.

    Vanishing Point: I took a print of DeVinci's Madonna on the Rocks, then overlaid a sheet with the lines that created the vanishing point, then over that a sheet with a coordinate plane. First, we found equations for the various lines, then used a system of equations to find the point that was so important in creating prespective in a painting. The bonus here is that my inner city kids were exposed not only to the math, but to classic art and techniques of visual arts all in the same activity. Since art and music has been dropped from their school day, I thought this was a vital addition to my class.
     
  15. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Jul 18, 2010

    Here are a few of mine

    For instance

    *Valley Forge - my students become quartermasters for G. Washington. They have to get supplies, figure out how much they need to feed soldiers for a month, where are they going to get the supplies, ect . . . They have to "write" memos to Washington, townspeople, Con. Congress

    * Federalist papers - read papers, put students on "sides" and debate; Students have to prepare written debates

    * Colonial Brochures - kind of a "we want you in our colony" using powerpoint to create brochures, students must sell their colony/state. They advestise weather, religious conditions, employment opportunites, agricultural opportities

    *Factory simulation - students in groups are assigned roles in a factory. They must respond to action cards to continue to produce and make a profit - addresses the birth of unions, craftsmenship vs mass production, social issues, child labor

    *re-writing the Treaty of Versailles - in groups of three each student represents either US/Wilson, Lloyd George/GB or Clemenau/France


    * using Billy Joel's song "We Didn't Start the Fire" for student presentations - each groups takes a stanza and does a presentation on the historical importance of the lyrics

    *Medieval Shield - my students create a medieval shield based on their values, character, likes, skills
     
  16. meeko32198

    meeko32198 Rookie

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    Jul 18, 2010

    I love all of the ideas. As a new teacher I am excited to try out a lot of these this year with my 5th grade class! :)
     
  17. deedee

    deedee Connoisseur

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    Jul 18, 2010

    Mummifying an apple

    Istructional Speeches

    Castle Building

    Hammurabi Code Court Room

    Roman Mosaic Vases
     
  18. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    Jul 18, 2010

    Reading your post reminded me about mummifying an apple in 6th grade. I adored my 6th grade teacher and she is one of the major reasons that I went into education. I often wonder what happened to her.
     
  19. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Jul 18, 2010

    My kids love this activity! We have a "best disguise" contest for the turkeys, lol!

    My first graders love to do glyphs (pictoral representations of information), hool-a-hooping spelling words, and (the past two years) believe it or not - independent reading! Oh, and word searches using (gasp) colored highlighters!
     
  20. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    My oldest daughter's third grade teacher had them do this and I attribute this assignment to her becoming a vegetarian :)
     
  21. deedee

    deedee Connoisseur

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    Jul 18, 2010

    Aw chem thats so nice:) I hope one of the kids thinks that of me :love:
     
  22. deedee

    deedee Connoisseur

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    Jul 18, 2010

    IN Teacher I need to be your best friend :haha: I am teaching an American History class this coming year!
     
  23. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    Jul 18, 2010

    Novel in a day

    This is such a great idea! I'm going to try it with my reading class. They do present in the order of the chapters, right?
     
  24. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Jul 18, 2010

    This year I will have one section of regular US and 2 sections of AP US.

    We can be B UShistory FF :lol:
     
  25. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    "Class stuffed animal with journal, I buy a new stuffed animal at the beginning of the, set up my calendar for each kid to have him on a weekend. They take the journal home, take pictures and post them if they want to, and they write about their adventures with the stuffed animal. They read and report on Monday morning."

    We moved to another state shortly after my son entered third grade and the class had already started a similar activity. The teacher was kind enough to have the stuffed animal mailed to my son so he could participate. He got to share his new home with his friends back in our home state and was able to be a part of an exciting project he'd been looking forward to.

    Your post brought tears to my eyes because it reminded me of how excited he was to get that package and do the activity at the same time he was very upset at having to move.
     
  26. deedee

    deedee Connoisseur

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    Jul 18, 2010

    In :haha: sounds great!

    oh I love the novel in a day idea!

    I love this thread ..Im soooo ready to get back in the classroom! I feel like I grew so much my first year and ready to go in for year 2!!
     
  27. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Jul 19, 2010

    This thread is fantastic! I have added so many posts to my "favorites", and I can't wait to use these ideas!

    RE Novel in a Day--I did a search for short novels for sixth grade, and found these:

    The Girl Who Owned a City (haven't read)
    A killing virus has swept the earth, sparing only children through the age of twelve. There is chaos everywhere, even in formely prosperous mid-America. Gangs and fierce armies of children begin to form almost immediately. It would be the same for the children on Grand Avenue but for Lisa, a yen-year-old girl who becomes their leader. Because of Lisa, they have food, even toys, in abundance. And now they can protect themselves from the fierce gangs that roam the neighborhoods. But for how long? Then Lisa conceives the idea of a fortress, a city in which the children could live safely and happily always, and she intends to lead them there.

    The Devil's Arithmetic (very good)
    Grade 4-8 In this novel, Yolen attempts to answer those who question why the Holocaust should be remembered. Hannah, 12, is tired of remembering, and is embarrassed by her grandfather, who rants and raves at the mention of the Nazis. Her mother's explanations of how her grandparents and great-aunt lost all family and friends during that time have little effect. Then, during a Passover Seder, Hannah is chosen to open the door to welcome the prophet Elijah. As she does so, she is transported to a village in Poland in the 1940s, where everyone thinks that she is Chaya, who has just recovered from a serious illness. She is captured by the Nazis and taken to a death camp, where she is befriended by a young girl named Rivka, who teaches her how to fight the dehumanizing processes of the camp and hold onto her identity. When at last their luck runs out and Rivka is chosen, Hannah/Chaya, in an almost impulsive act of self-sacrifice, goes in her stead. As the door to the gas chamber closes behind her, she is returned to the door of her grandparents' apartment, waiting for Elijah. Through Hannah, with her memories of the present and the past, Yolen does a fine job of illustrating the importance of remembering. She adds much to children's understanding of the effects of the Holocaust, which will reverberate throughout history, today and tomorrow.

    The Lightning Thief (haven't read, but would tie in well with Social Studies)
    Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school...again. And that's the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus's master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

    Loser (very popular, good book)
    Donald Zinkoff is one of the greatest kids you could ever hope to meet. He laughs easily, he likes people, he loves school, he tries to rescue lost girls in blizzards, he talks to old ladies. The only problem is, he's a loser. Until fourth grade, Zinkoff's uncontrollable giggling in class, sloppy handwriting, horrible flute playing, bad grades, clumsiness, and ineptitude at sports go largely unnoticed. When he blows a race for his team, however, his transition to loserdom is complete.
     
  28. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Jul 19, 2010

    These are some of my favorite activities. I'm too tired right now to put a description, but if it sounds interesting just ask or PM and I'll explain! Love this!

    Mini Metric Olympics
    Ancient Civilization Travel Brochures
    Pi Day
    How to Annoy Your Teacher essay
    Tuck Everlasting novel study
    writing a children's book
     
  29. Pencil Monkey

    Pencil Monkey Devotee

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    Jul 19, 2010

    wow....what creative lessons everyone has mentioned! Most of my favorites are for MS Science since that is my background.

    Simon Says - I will start the lesson by saying it is time for simon says. Then I will say simon says stand up. Simon says if you don't follow directions you are out. Simon say that if you are the last one in the game you get a homework pass. It keeps the kids really engaged through some dull content.

    Word wall bingo - I give every kid two blank bingo cards. I tell them they have five minutes to put any words off the word wall in the spaces but they must write them in crayon/pen/marker. I pass out cheerios as the markers. Then I will call out random definitions for them to match up. The kids love it and it reminds them to keep up with their word wall vocabulary.

    Alka seltzer rockets - go to the local film developer and see if they will let you have a set of those little film canisters. I let each child decorate theirs as a rocket ship by gluing paper onto it. After they have dried we go outside and we fill them up with water, put an alka seltzer in and close the cap and put them down. They will pop up.

    Raising Water with a candle - you will need a disposable pie plate, modeling clay, water, beaker, food coloring and a birthday candle. First color the water, use the modeling clay to stick the birthday candle in the middle of the pie pan. Light the candle and ask kids to predict what will happen when you put the beaker over the candle. Do it and the water will rise up inside the beaker and the candle will go out. It is a fun experiment to get kids to make predictions and ask questions.

    Build your own rafts - give small groups Popsicle sticks, aluminum foil, yarn and whatever else you can think of. Challenge them to make a raft that will hold ten pennies and still float. I usually borrow and aquarium or a baby pool so we can try them out. Winning group gets a prize. Lesson concept is about buoyancy.

    Character book reports - students dress up as a character and give an oral book report from the perspective of the character
     
  30. mom2mikey

    mom2mikey Cohort

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    Jul 19, 2010

    Here are some of my favorites through the years...

    Science: Not my "area" but I often ended up teaching it. It was actually a great subject to teach as there were so many great projects that students could do. With each project, students were asked to write a report justifying their ideas based on scientific principals we were studying or new ones they researched. Here are a couple of our most enjoyable activities:

    - Recycled Boats: students actually made boats out of recycled materials and then we had an afternoon at the beach where they got on their boats and had a race. In the end only two boats made it the whole way so both groups "won".
    - Egg Drop: created containers that they felt would hold an egg when dropped from 1, 2, and 3 stories up.
    - Spagetti Bridge Building Contest: Made bridges and then we put weight on them to see whose would hold the most.
    - Water testing Project: We went and did water testing in local streams in our area.

    Social Studies: I worked in a small school so ended up teaching WAY out of my subject area. For a couple of years I had social 8 and about a third of the year was spent studying the middle ages. Both groups of grade 8 did social at the same time and the other teacher was a social major so I was able to pick her brains a lot. We ended up developing a major "Middle Ages Project" where students picked different activities from different lists and then did the work and research to complete them. We culminated the whole unit with a Medieval Festival. It turned out amazing the first year and even better the second. I got over my fear of teaching Social and actually learned a lot of things that I never really learned in high school ;).

    Ironically, mathematics is my subject area and I can't think of a lot of these kinds of lessons from there. I know I did an effective job of teaching mathematics as the test results proved that.

    Since moving to a self-contained classroom I'm thinking that my best "lesson" to this point was implementing a classroom business where we make and sell dog treats. Lots of great learning taking place in all the processes involved here :).
     
  31. passionateacher

    passionateacher Comrade

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    Jul 19, 2010

    Novel in a Day

    Mrs. C, One more question about the Novel in a Day activity. In between the presentations of each chapter, did you have the students do any kind of written activity/discussion/responding? Like maybe predict (quickly) what would happen in the next chapter...etcetera? I love the idea of saving the last chapter as a teacher read-aloud! :thanks:
     
  32. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Jul 19, 2010

    Favorites in my classroom...

    anything involving food or cooking ;)

    and painting with ice cubes. I freeze ice cubes in a tray with a few drops of food coloring in each one. The kids LOVE painting with them! You could probably also use liquid watercolors, but I haven't had them (I will this year, yay!). It's cold, so sometimes I've frozen popsicle sticks into them as handles... but that's tricky because you have to do that when they're slushy but not solid yet... they look awesome when they dry, almost like watercolors... a great science experience :)
     
  33. tgim

    tgim Habitué

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    Jul 19, 2010

    I love all of these ideas - I am going to do Novel in a Day, Saltwater Evaporation, and Quiz-Quiz-Trade - plus others when I have a chance to read carefully!

    Some of my favs:

    Lit Circles - reading chapter books with a small group

    Water-Cycle-in-a-Baggie - put ice cubes in a baggie, tape to window, voila - instance water cycle

    Crazy Professor - I got this from "whole brain teaching" on here and use it in every subject area at times

    Using music in any way with any lesson

    Edible Science (rocks), SS (landforms), math (plotting coordinates, place value, tons more)

    Turning our class into zones to illustrate the levels of government, and then further into zones to illustrate the branches of government in SS - so hard for 3rd grade to get without making it concrete

    Having parents write and send in a secret valentine which I sneak into the students' valentine boxes (Wide eyes - and abounding murmurs of "How'd THAT get in there?")

    Trying in any way to make connections between students' real/other life outside classroom and what is happening in the classroom (tie in athletics, clubs, 4H projects, parents' expertise, travel experiences, etc.)

    Sending Flat Stanleys off and learning about other communities

    Listening and learning from THEM (students)

    Problem solving in math - gets students to reason and then communicate their reasoning, pulling together math and LA
     
  34. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jul 19, 2010

    No, we always just moved from one chapter presentation to another--no written work involved for the students outside of any that they did to prep for their presentation. I try to get away from the notion that there always needs to be written follow-up to reading. I did set some ground rules: every member of the group must contribute in some way to the presentation and the group must work together to be sure that every member of their group understands what happens in their chapter.

    One suggestion I have to anyone going to do this--pick an easy book the first time you do it. The ones I use are in around 100 pages--even for older grades.
     
  35. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Jul 19, 2010

    After all this I'll just be teaching Western Civ. this year!
     
  36. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Jul 19, 2010

    Lovin' this thread, lovin' this thread...
     
  37. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    Jul 19, 2010

    I am getting so many ideas from this thread. This is one that we might have to start again since it is in the debates and marathons.
     
  38. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Jul 19, 2010

    Ack! It is...darn. Maybe we can talk our pal Jaime into getting it out of here...or TG...
     
  39. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    Jul 19, 2010

    You have brilliant ideas. Now to see if we have enough "pull" to keep this going!!
     
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