Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Find the Numbers Object Lesson

Last night at a professional development meeting, my supervisor, who is about to complete her PhD in education with a focus on teacher development, had us do this effective object lesson to demonstrate the difference between affective and cognitive learning. She gave us a paper similar to the one above, with numbers 1 through 50 in a random assortment. She instructed us that we had 30 seconds to circle each number, in order, no skipping. She said we needed to get to 28 to pass the assignment.

After we all failed the assignment, she said we needed to "go faster" and "try harder" and again told us we would not pass unless we got the next 28 numbers in 30 more seconds, so we needed to "step it up" and "do better." Almost all of us did about the same, or in some cases (me!), worse. She also asked if we thought the people who did better were smarter than the rest of us.

She then taught us a trick. If you fold the paper in fourths, you could find the number 1 in the top left quadrant, then going clockwise through the quadrants, you would find the next number in turn. (See the photos below). Then she had us try again, with no pressure to do better, but of course we all finished the assignment.

Her point was about how when we focus on finding different ways to explain things, and providing an environment where they feel comfortable and successful (affective learning), they perform much better, regardless of natural intelligence of IQ level.

I'm sure this activity has a plethora of uses for object lessons with students. I'm going to use it with my students as an example of how it's best to look for patterns, ask questions, understand the assignment, and tap into their own learning styles before beginning an assignment. If you think of any other uses, or have seen this in the classroom before, I'd love to hear about it!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Figurative Language Matching Card Game

I finished the Concentration-style game for figurative language examples and terms that I mentioned in my last post. I took off the color coding from the trading cards, made everything into 2 1/2" squares and added term cards. I like the way it turned out, and I'm already thinking I'm going to use this as a quiz rather than a traditional multiple choice quiz for the terms. My students who get test anxiety are going to love this!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Trading Cards in the Classroom

 My students have mentioned that the posters and Power Point I use with visual clues and examples are a great way to help them remember figurative language terms. When I noticed them making flash cards to study, I thought, why not shrink the graphics to flash card size to help out my students? When I made the cards, I sized them to fit inside a trading card protector, and realized that what I had created were trading cards. Of course they can be used as flash cards, but I have found many other uses for trading cards in the classroom.

 Concentration: For younger students, a simple matching game will breed familiarity with the terms and examples. For older students, you could create cards with examples and cards with the terms, and ask students to match the examples with terms. For the cards I made here, I'm going to create cards without the terms at the top, and matching term cards for the game.

Rewards: You could pass out the trading cards as rewards for quiz scores or answering questions in class etc... Even my older students secretly get excited about this.

Reference: If the cards are laminated and put on a ring, they could be permanent fixtures in the classroom as a study/reference tool.

Interactive notebooks: Printed out on paper instead of card stock, these could be glued into a notebook for reference with activities for that particular term.

 The possibilities are endless! If you want to create your own cards, there are numerous templates available for free online. The standard size is 2 1/2" x 3 1/2", but if you are going to use them primarily for matching games, it wouldn't hurt to go larger. There is also a fun trading card app from the International Reading Association found here.

If you want these figurative language trading cards, they are found in my store here for only $2.00. They are inexpensive because I had already made the posters (found here) so it was just a matter of shrinking them to size.