Friday, June 5, 2015

Inference Investigations and Main Idea Mysteries

Wow, this has been quite a year in the library!  I love my new position and am very happy that I'll get to do it all over again next year!

That being said, a lot of my "social media" has been neglected due to it as well as some family matters we've been going through.  With that being said, this summer's goal is to polish up some of the things I did in the library and, if I haven't told you about it already, will share with you on here!  Unfortunately, I'm down to a "dumb phone" since my Droid was left at a dr's office and hasn't shown up yet :( but its better than no phone at all, so I can't complain too much!  I must admit, though, I miss Google Calendar most of all.  Not that I can't access it from my laptop, but it was sooo nice to have on the go!  Funny that's what I missed, but like many of you, I become full time mom during the summer and need that schedule!!!

Back to school things, though!

One thing that my fourth and fifth grade teachers asked me to work on at the end of the year was main idea, context clues, and inferencing to help review for the state tests.  Knowing its the end of the year, that the kiddos were wild and crazy, I wanted to do something active that would engage them, but also be beneficial.

I had seen on Pinterest how people used Pixar movies to teach different comprehension strategies.  So, on two of my wiki pages for my students, we used movie clips (including this great detective series from Houghton Mifflin, although I never could find "part 2" to any of them).

I followed that up with an activity.  For context clues, we took the book, Baloney, by Jon Scieszka, and first watched a YouTube version of the read aloud.  Then, I had photocopied pages and made an "alien translator" for students to use to figure out what the alien words meant in the book.  For some of my more "active" classes, we did this orally, but believe it or not, it was the higher classes that took to the alien translator and groaned when we ran out of time to finish it!  (Always makes you feel good to plan an activity where the kids are sorry to leave it!!!).

Here is the what the alien translator looks like.  Click {here} to see more.  You can also check out the page I used for context clues, with the videos, {here}.

Our next lesson, the kids were begging for more video clips to watch, so we looked at videos {here} and {here} and then completed our follow up activity.  This was, as I told students, a use of their detective skills.  They were given 3 cards and had to figure out 1) what they had in common and 2) go look around the library for the answer card to write on their recording sheet.  It was a definite hit and the kids had a blast!  It was great for them to be up and moving around test time, when they had been sitting all day.  They were even willing to calm down with the main idea passages that I had cut up and had them put back together like puzzles.  (Click on the title page to see it on TPT).

So I taped the "dog" card in the library (since these were my older students, it was fun to hide them in tricky places!).  Students received a bag with the other 3 cards, wrote it on their recording sheet (below), and once they figure it out, they had to find the dog card!

I presented these to students cut up and in baggies.  They had to piece it together and put the main idea at the top.  If we had more time, and maybe another week in resource, we would've talked about how the main idea was really the topic sentence of the paragraph!

I have to admit, I was surprised and very pleased the kids were so into these activities!  It's a rough time of year to be a resource teacher apparently!  I remember last year with my classroom, we were doing a space unit at the end of the year to help "maintain control" as well as keep the students' interest.  My students really enjoyed the "Around the Room" type activities where they had to find answers throughout the library.  We did go over some ground rules (it's still the library - no running), but they loved being up and mobile.....AND I got a kudos from my principal for doing something meaningful but also very "kinesthetic."  Hee hee :)

So, as the summer goes along and I "fix up" the activities I created (but had no time to post about), I'll hopefully be seeing you more on here!  I'm actually kind of glad I waited so I can reflect on what worked, what didn't, etc. so I can get them ready to go for next year's crew! :)


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