Friday, May 25, 2012

Making the Most of Boring Curriculum

Hello Everyone!  We are only 15 days away from paradise :)  Can you smell the children about to loose it?  3 of my  best behaved, most helpful students decided throwing food at lunch was a good idea today.  Then they were shocked that they got in trouble for it :/

UMMM? What classroom have you been in for the past 2 years?  However, when I asked them if we should ask their parents what they thought about it all 3 decided they would just take the punishment......dun, dun, dun, an evil clip down.  We have a behavior chart where they can clip up for good behavior and down for bad.  I love it because I can be mean and then nice when they turn it around; it lets me be more strict without having the whole class on phone call home at the end of the day.  I also can turn students behavior around by rewarding the good ones and not constantly being a meanie.

On to the main point of my post.  Does your school have a reading book that you use as part of your curriculum?  We use Literacy Place and for the most part I like it.  However, in 3rd grade there is a story that I dread teaching usually I would skip it but my kids were having trouble with sequencing events and it is actually a good story for that.  So my goal was to make it interesting for the most important person in the class.....ME:)

The story is Up Goes the Skyscraper

First, we do our vocabulary for the lesson by looking at the context clues, making predictions and then looking up the real meanings.  I give the kids a sentence that the word is in and then they have to write down what clues helped them make their prediction. I started this because my kiddos kept bombing the context clues section of their district assessments and EdVision placement tests.  I use a modified Fryer diagram for our vocabulary format.  I can change what I want the squares to say and keep the format consistent.   It gets the kids used to it by the time they need to use it.

Since we don't live in an area with skyscrapers we then watched a movie about them.  I love the website and it had one that was perfect!  You can check it out here!

Once we were done the real fun began.  We build our own skyscrapers!  I cut black construction paper in half the "hotdog" way.  Then I cut note cards into squares for windows.  On each window starting at the ground students needed to write a step in the process of building a skyscraper.  Then we decorated them!  The kids had a lot of fun and I think its the first time any class actually remembered what happened in the story.

Some of them turned out larger than others because they broke down the steps instead of combining ones that went together, I think a contest over who had the tallest skyscraper broke out.  Next time I do this I am going to give them a set number of steps they must have.

What things do you do to make the curriculum more interesting and engaging for your kids and your self.

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