Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Comprehension Lesson with my Focus Students

First, I would like to say that I love student’s reactions when they hear they are going to work with me! They are so excited and have big smiles on their faces but then when you tell them we are going to work on literacy there facial expressions completely change. I had all Title 1 or resource room students in my group. My teacher told me that they have nearly gone up an entire grade level in reading since she has been back from maternity leave, which is absolutely amazing! After I explained to the students what we were going to be doing their attitudes changed for the better. I asked all the students what their favorite book was and surprisingly the students had to stop and think about this. I know that when I was a student I would have been able to answer that question immediately. Each student had a different book that they enjoyed they ranged from The Three Little Pigs to The Little Red Hen. The students were able to tell the group what happened in the book. They actually enjoyed telling us what had happened and all the other students listened intently even if they had read the book before. After everyone had shared I asked if the students had a hard time remembering what happened in a new book that they read. They all said yes so I told them that is what we would work on today. They were excited!

To start the lesson I gave each student three sticky notes and they drew stars on each one. The students were so excited to receive sticky notes. They use them a lot in the classroom and always have them at their desk but I brought colored ones, which they were not used to. I told the students that as they read Meet me at the Watering Hole they should place each sticky note on a page where they learned something new or a fact they found interesting. Each student said that they loved animals so they were excited to read to book. I asked the students to keep their eyes on their own books because what I learned may not be the same as what you learned. The students got right to work and read very carefully and placed the sticky notes on three different pages. After everyone had finished they noticed that one girl had placed her sticky notes at the top of the page so they came out of the book so they all felt the need to change theirs. It did make it easier for them to find the pages they found interesting but it was still funny. I was a little scared because the first fact that each student found interesting was the same and this defeated the purpose of the lesson. But the next two facts were all different. Each student explained why they found it interesting and what they learned and almost every student referred to the pictures, which I found interesting as well. After each student had shared their three sticky notes I had them summarize what happened in the book. To my surprise they remember the order the animals were introduced and most of the facts they told about each animal. The students did such a great job and worked well together. The one student, Marissa, that was in the group can be extremely controlling in any situation and she did try to do this a few times but I reminded her that there was two other people in the group that needed to share their opinions too and she settled down and let them share.

When we were finished with the activity I asked if the students found this strategy helpful and they all said yes with excitement. Then I asked the students how they would use this strategy if they didn’t have sticky notes and their responses were really interesting. The one boy said that he would keep track on his finger and would randomly stop while reading and go over all the points on his fingers. One girl said that she had lots of bookmarks so she could put them on the pages she learned something or she could fold the page over to remember where it was. I did tell her that if it wasn’t her book that she shouldn’t fold the pages over because that would be hurting the book and she understood. The last girl said that she would remember in her head or she would stop while reading and recall some of the main ideas. I thought all were great ideas but I really enjoyed the finger one! Finally, I told the students to remember this strategy while they were reading and to share it with their friends because everyone likes to learn new ways to remember things.

1 comment:

  1. I really like the strategy you utilized in introducing your focus students to the activity you were helping them with that day. I think it was a great way to ensure they were motivated and excited to work hard. Comprehension is such an important topic for students to grasp as early as possible. What grade are you students in now? I can’t remember…I know you were in a fourth/fifth grade class, but I’m at a loss as to where you are now! (Your students sound adorable though).

    I also really liked the fact that you used sticky notes. Personally, I haven’t used this at all with students, but I think it’s a great idea. I do want to say, that I think it’s really important, when you’re working with children that are struggling, to make sure they KNOW why they are being addressed outside of the whole class. This is their reading and their writing abilities, they need to take responsibility and secure some ownership in their learning. I mean, this is just a suggestion. I know a lot of teachers find it slightly controversial. That is, the idea of telling students that they need help and that’s why we’re working together, etc. I don’t know. Just something to think about.