Posts tagged ‘Teaching Resources’

Review/Extension Activity: Sometimes, Always, or Never

When you get your kids to think and then they ask you to do it again, you know you have a winner.

This is a versatile activity that can be adapted for any setting, time frame, and group dynamic. It engages students in processing vocabulary and ideas, helping them get comfortable and familiar with new words without any memorization pressure. Preparation and setup can be as easy as you need it to be. Here is the basic idea with one simple variation:

Create a list of statements about the topic you wish to explore or review. The statements should be sometimes, always, or never true. For example, here are some of my statements from a lesson about quadrilaterals:

A rhombus is a square

A rectangle is a parallelogram

A parallelogram has a right angle

A quadrilateral has 4 acute angles

A quadrilateral has exactly 2 right angles

I played the game with intensive students individually or in pairs, so I did it as a board game: Take any follow-the-path game board and randomly label the spaces sometimes, always, and never. In turns, each player picks up a statement card, reads the statement, and decides whether it is sometimes, always, or never true. The player must PROVE or at least reasonably demonstrate their answer through logic or examples. Often, the student develops their answer through the process of proving it. They can sketch examples, look up a definition in a reference book, and discuss with others. Some of the students surprised me – and themselves! – with the insights this process brought out. Once the players are collectively satisfied with the answer, the player moves to the next unoccupied matching spot. The game can be adapted to different game boards or simply collecting cards. Adapt for levels of knowledge/memory by making different reference resources available (or not). When students are already familiar with the way this works, you can make it an independent center activity for groups or individuals. You can have students make up the statements and then pool them together. Making up statements for a S/A/N game center can be an “early finisher” activity.

Another way to play that limits it to more of a categorization exercise is to write just the words on the card instead of full statements. Make several copies of each. Then, students draw the cards and place them on a template that looks like this:

A ______________ is a _________________

This will result in many of the same permutations you might have created in the first place, but it’s easier to prepare and adds a fun randomness.

This activity works especially well with topics involving a lot of categorization or attributes. Try it in science:

An elephant is a mammal.

A bird can fly.

A reptile lives in the desert.

Or in social studies. Or even in grammar. I love metacognition!

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May 19, 2013 at 1:36 pm Leave a comment

Friday Finds: Education.com

Welcome to Friday Finds! I’ll try to bring you the best of the web every week. Or, if not every week, then on random Fridays because I like alliteration. Education.com is an all-purpose site aimed at parents but reasonably relevant to teachers as well. It’s a good starting point for ¬†little of everything, and surprisingly thorough – my usual instinct is to look for specialty sites when researching a particular topic, but for many purposes, this site will serve you quite well. I’m getting no commission for saying this.

What you’ll find:

  • Articles on just about every topic in education. Makes me feel like this blog is a little extraneous. Oh well, I can still try.
  • Educational activity ideas and printable worksheets
  • Q&A forum
  • General topics of interest to parents, such as crafts and recipes.

Why I like it:

  • Well organized: It’s easy to find everything that’s there. Easy to navigate. Easy on the eyes. I like easy. The search tools work great, too – You can search for activities or materials by grade level, topic, and/or subtopic, by clicking tags, or just browsing new or popular items. Very smooth.
  • Real info: Everyone has something to say on the web, but much of it is junk. Here, the material makes sense and is consistent with other current research I’ve read – as well as common sense. Even better, many of the articles are actually written by well-known, respected authors and personalities in educational fields.
  • Great materials: The worksheets and activities are visually appealing, simple, and educationally sound. The articles are written and organized well, easy to understand, and not too long.
  • Thorough: As I stated at the beginning of this post, but will say again because it’s so impressive, this site is remarkably thorough. They seem to have something for everything.
  • FREE! Really free. No “If you want to see the rest of the worksheet, become a paying member.” No spam emails, so far.

Wishful thinking:

This is a darn good site, but could be even better. The ads on this site are not too pervasive, but I do wish you wouldn’t have to click through so many pages. There is only a small amount of material on each page, and frequently after you select your topic you still need to click again to open the article. I assume they do this to maximize ad impressions, but it’s a little annoying, especially if your internet connection is slow. Still, some sites will just annoy you for money – this one at least gives you a good return for it.
I would also love to see more materials for the higher grade levels.

October 28, 2011 at 5:00 pm Leave a comment


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