Today I was excited to use my new Freedom Summer Literacy Companion Pack with a third grade class. I've been working a lot with third grade this month, so my teachers can get their dreaded MOY state assessments completed.
One of my goals this year is to model for my teachers the importance of using Collaborative Pairs and/or Cooperative Learning Structures. Unfortunately, many of my teachers find this as a struggle to fit into their teaching style. There are so many benefits of allowing your children to collaborate!
Pairs & Whole GroupWe started our lesson out using the Fan-N-Pick Context Clues cards (Pairs). I loved hearing their discussions for the the word "shell". The sentence in the text was, "We shell butter beans together". They came up with some pretty good definitions: share, cover, and cook. They were pretty surprised by the actual definition. During Whole-Group I read each sentence and we discussed the definitions they came up with and each word's actual definition.
Whole Group & PairsI then read aloud Freedom Summer to them, stopping to discuss our vocabulary again, asking guiding questions, etc. Any time I asked a question I had the students turn and talk to the person next to them before I called on one student for the answer. Doing this requires ALL students to participate and not just the one or two students who always raise their hand. Once we read and discussed the story we worked on the graphic organizer.
Whole Group & Pairs & Whole GroupWe completed the Time Period and Character components together. I had them work together with a partner or group to complete the "Important Events" and "Evidence Joe is a Good Friend" components. We then went over their responses as a whole class.
IndependentThey were getting chatty by this time, we had a snow day yesterday, and I was in there first thing this morning. I assigned them to start working on the Comprehension Brochure independently. These questions are Higher Order thinking questions and I knew it would be a little bit of a challenge for some of them, but appropriate for them to think about and try.
To help my teachers remember to use pairs during their lessons and remind them that anytime you ask a question to your class, require your students to talk to their partner before calling on one student for the answer. As adults we learn from each other through collaboration so why not allow your students the same opportunity. :)
On a different topic...Grab my sample freebie (click on the image below) from my newest product "Figure Me Out" for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Students use MATH to lean interesting and important facts about famous African -Americans.