Activating their Knowledge

Saturday, November 9, 2013
I've been absent because I have been on a roll!  I have totally and absolutely fallen in love with my kids and my new school and about three weeks ago it started to feel like home.  I'm finally starting to really nest into classroom and I've discovered who Mrs. Wilkins is in an urban setting.
My biggest but welcome challenge is working with my ELL students.  I have found that I don't have to change my teaching style but I definitely need to frame my activities differently.  After, what I thought, was a successful unit on the French and Indian War, one of my hardest working and brightest ELL students asked me, "So what was the French and Indian War?"  I realized I needed to front load the lesson and activate their vocabulary.  When we went to start our unit on the causes of the American Revolution I I decided to show the BrainPop before we started.   Instead of having them do the quiz,  I gave them individual white boards and asked them to write down any words, phrases and dates they could process from the movie.  I them had them get in groups and share their words and make a word cloud poster.  Now when we work on the Stamp Act, Townshend Acts, etc. they say that they remember hearing about that one:)

 In my seventh grade class I have been working on a town mandated "module" which is CCSS aligned and models after a performance task that we assume will be on the PARCC test.  As the students gather information they have to have the opportunity to share out to the class.  This becomes difficult with thirty in a class so I knew I had to find a way they could collaborate in a meaningful way.  I had them create group informational posters that they hung in the classroom and the hall.  I told kids they could shop for information from all the posters to build their arsenal of evidence for their argument writing.  One of my kids said it really was shoplifting because we were just stealing information so that's what we call it now... Shoplifting!!!  It's worked out wonderfully and their argument essays are going splendidly.  

On a Teachers Pay Teachers front, you should check out my store.. I've made some great new stuff!
My kiddos have been using these graphic organizers both in my class and in ELA and we are having great success.  Give them a whirl here!

Have students use their geography skills to find the major physical features of the Fertile Crescent. Click here!

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