Greetings and welcome to week 2 of Page Turners, a weekly Wednesday linky, where I will feature great blog posts I have read (and sometimes that I have written). Hopefully you will find ideas that inspire you in your classroom and your teaching and maybe even a new blog to follow. Read down to the end of the post for directions if you are interested in linking up a post of your own.
And now on to this week's topic, hands-on learning. As an English teacher I am always looking for ways to engage my students. Of all the subjects, I think incorporating hands-on activities is toughest to do with English because students have to read, a "passive" activity, before using the information to do something more active.
Simulations are a great way to bring learning to life. Jennifer of Mrs. Laffin's Laughings explains in Bringing the Fur Trade to Life with Book Bartering how she showed her students the importance of the fur trade to Native Americans by doing a book trade in her classroom. I love how she substituted books, something her students would care about, for furs, something her students wouldn't care about. A simulation doesn't always have to be an exact replication of an idea or event. Centering the simulation around books allowed students to make connections to the events they were studying in Social Studies. Think about a difficult or distant concept in a text you are reading. How might a simulation help students better connect and understand?
Another great simulation I came across was one Kristen Dombrowski shared in her High Five for Friday post about assembly lines. In this simulation, students were responding to an inquiry question about the pros and cons of assembly line production and traditional craftsmanship. A set of questions helped guide students in their inquiry and would be a great lead in to a writing piece. Real life experiences ensure that students will have plenty to write about.
Page turner #3 was an idea I had never seen or heard of, trioramas! Angela of The Teacher's Desk 6 has more great photos in her post, Wordless Wednesday: Responding to a Novel if trioramas are new to you too. Like a diaorama, trioramas allow students to create 3-D representations of elements in a novel such as characters, conflict, setting, or an important part of the plot. Because the triorama is made of paper, there is no need to collect shoe boxes. These would also take up less space and be easier to hang up.
Page Turner #4 is connected to math, but the idea was so delicious I wanted to share it. In "Oreo Stacking Contest for Mean, Median, Mode Lesson" Mary from Teaching with a Mountain View shares one of her students favorite activities. Students stack Oreos into towers and then using the data, practice with mean, median, and mode. I liked that the activity was a bit competitive and students got creative with their stacking strategies so it challenged students to think as well as apply math concepts.
For a hands-on activity where students work directly with a text, check out this post, Teaching and Assessing Writing Organization, by The Daring English Teacher. Cut up a fiction or nonfiction text and then have students place the events or ideas back in the correct order.
My last page turner this week is one of my own blog posts about Character Silhouettes. The idea came from Linda Christenson's book, Teaching for Joy and Justice and allowed students to dig into a character from a recent text while creating a visual representation. This activity could be done with a fictional character or a real life/historical figure.
For more hands-on ideas and resources:
Be sure to check out the posts linked up below and come back next week for some great posts about instilling a love of reading in students.