Journal: Look in your agenda on page 11 for the definition of idiom. Read the sentences and decide if they are an idiom or a sentence.
Then write two idioms of your own.
We spent about five minutes doing some random organizational things.
We started the unit on Chaim Potok's short story, "Zebra." We did not read this story in class like the previous two stories. Instead, we assigned the story to be read for homework. We told students to write the homework down in their sacred agendas.
After assigning homework, we had students turn in their composition books. The end of the quarter was quickly coming up on Friday, so we needed to collect their books to give them a grade for all the notes we've done so far this year. Having the students place their notebooks in an orderly fashion took a couple of minutes.
This activity may not be rigorous. It may not require analysis, interpretation, or evaluation. It is, however, a good way to make sure that students know how to say new words correctly. This is especially important in my co-taught classes so my co-teacher and I make sure to not skip this step in those classes. My co-teacher usually leads this activity.
All the words are written on the board or displayed on the doc cam. There are seventeen words, divided up into four rows.
For the "I Do" I (the teacher) read all the words aloud. For 'We Do" all the students read the words aloud. For "You Do" I (the teacher) chooses random students to pronounce each word in the row.
How can I make this activity more rigorous? Rather than having just the word, I can also include the dictionary pronunciation scheme thing. The idea is to help guide students to be independent learners, so exposing students to the pronunciation methodology through this activity provides the scaffolding needed.
OMG WHY DOES IT TAKE SO LONG TO WRITE JUST A FEW DEFINITIONS?
This activity is not just copying dictionary definitions from the dictionary. That doesn't help students acquire the meanings. Copying definitions helps students (possibly) memorize denotations for a test, only to forget the definition two seconds after they've turned the test in. That's not good for anyone.
This activity is designed to give students a strategy for deeply acquiring vocabulary so that the new vocabulary words become a part of their everyday vocabulary. This activity is designed to get students to think critically about dictionary definitions to develop a strategy to acquire new words through a dictionary.
The Shrinking Process
We divided up the students in pairs. After I raided, I mean borrowed, dictionaries from a fellow teacher, I had enough dictionaries for students to work in pairs. They went through the shrinking process by looking up the word in the dictionary, copying the definition and part of speech, and shrinking the definition down to six easily understandable words.
When I explain this step to my co-taught classes, I told them that the definition should be simple enough for their eight year old brother or sister to understand. This makes it so much more palatable than "simple enough for you to understand it." Shrinking Definitions and aTrick
They wrote their new, shiny, easily understandable definitions on white boards. We kept them safe for the next part of definitions, the carousel. Come back tomorrow to see what the carousel is.
Today's lesson picture is a collection of shrunken definitions from my students.