Gather students on the rug using a preferred classroom management technique. I like to use my “Stop, look, listen.” The students stop what they are doing, look at me and listen for the direction. I usually preface the direction with, “When I say go…” This reminds the students to listen to the whole direction before moving to follow the directive.
In this case I would say, “When I say go I would like you to clear your space, push in your chair and go take a spot on your dot. Walking feet go.” By saying walking feet I am reminding the students to use walking feet in the classroom to ensure safe movement between areas.
When all of the students are seated on their dot in the rug area I ask them if anyone can tell me what opposite means. “Can anyone explain to me what an opposite is?”
I use the fair sticks to select one or two students to respond to the question.
“Thanks Bryan I think I understand now. Your example of day and night tells me that an opposite is like the flip side or reverse of something or someone.”
“Well boys and girls we are going to play a game using the SMARTBoard where you try to guess the opposite of the item shown.” I open up the screen on the SMARTBoard where the Opposite Lesson is already pre-loaded.
I use the fair sticks to select students to take turns to tell me what the item is and then to try and guess the opposite. Once the student has made a fair attempt at guessing the opposite word, I have him/her come up and drag the item to the middle section of the board. The correct answer slides out on the other side allowing the student to see if his/her answer was correct.
Not all of the students will get a turn, so I explain to those who did not get a turn that the game will be available again later in the day for them to have a turn.
Once the game is over I have the students stand up and do a movement activity before they have to sit down and listen to the story. I play an opposite game with them – two examples are below.
“Put your left hand on your right knee. Now do the opposite.”
“Put your right elbow on your left ankle. Now do the opposite.”
I will end the exercise with, “Everybody stand all floppy like a ragdoll. Now do the opposite and sit up straight ready to listen to the book for the focus lesson.”
“The book for today is called Pumpkins and it is by Ken Robbins. Can anyone tell me something they notice about the book?”
“Yes Ivan the cover is a photograph. Let’s check on the back cover to see if there is a photograph there.”
“Now let’s take a quick picture walk and see what you notice.”
“Well what do you think?”
“I think you are right Sophia. The book looks like it is a non-fiction book. Let’s read the book and find out if your prediction is correct.”
I select this book because it reinforces the lesson we did on the previous day about the life cycle of a pumpkin, including several decomposed pumpkins and the author also uses many adjectives to describe a variety of pumpkins. We discuss these words as a group when we come across them.
“What do you think the word ‘huge’ means?”
“You are right April. The word huge is another word for big. Huge and big are words we use to describe the size of an object. A describing word is called an adjective. We use adjectives to give people a mental picture of what we are talking about.”
“Listen closely as I use adjectives to give you a mental picture. When you think you know the item I am describing raise a silent hand. Today I saw a huge, grey mammal. It was covered with wrinkly skin and it had enormous ears. It had a medium length tail with a few black hairs sticking out. Carla what did I see?”
“You are right it was an elephant. Adjectives really help give the reader or the listener a good picture in their brain. Reading would be pretty boring without them. Let me give you an example. See which sentence gives you a better idea and a more interesting mental picture of what I am talking about.”
“Today I saw a big pumpkin.”
Pause for a few seconds.
“Today I saw a big green pumpkin with lumps all over it. It looked like cottage cheese was covering it, but the lumps were green and hard.”
“What do you think?”
“I agree with you Adam. The second sentence gave me much more information and I had a very good mental picture of what the speaker was telling me. The first sentence didn’t tell me the color or the texture.”
“Okay let’s read on.”
When the book is over I tell the students they will be given an opportunity to closely observe a pumpkin. “At the observation station you will find magnifying glasses, pencils, crayons and your science journals.”
“Your job will be to spend a bit of time observing the pumpkin and then record your observations in your science journal. You will need to label your pumpkin with attribute words and adjectives. Can someone tell me what an adjective is?”
“Great job remembering Louise, an adjective is a describing word.”
“Use your senses to help you describe the pumpkin. Who can tell me what your senses are?”
“Well done Adrian. Touch is a sense. Who has another one?”
“Right. Sight is another one. There are still three more.”
“Good work Rachel, smell is a good one.”
“Yes Sebastian taste is another sense. Now do you think you are going to be able to taste this pumpkin today?”
“That’s right you will NOT be able to taste this pumpkin, but you can look at it, listen, touch and smell.”
Now I send the students over one table group at a time to maintain a safe and orderly classroom. It usually sounds like this;
“Table number one go have some observation fun.
Table number two, you know what to do.
Table number three, hope you were listening to me, and
Table number four, you shouldn’t be here anymore.”
While working with the students I will allow some students to just draw the information. Other students I will ask to label with the beginning sounds or other phonetic sounds they hear. For my higher functioning students I will ask that they either use phonetic spelling or the Word Bank provided at the table to describe the pumpkin we are observing. Students Observing Students Working
Allow the students about 15 minutes to complete the task. Remind the students to check the visual timer to check how much time they have and to use their time wisely between observing and recording.
When the time is up I blow two short blasts on my whistle and use the “Stop, look listen” technique mentioned above. “When I say go, I would like you to clean up your space remembering to take care of our things, push in your chair, and use walking feet to go and take a spot on your dot.”
I remind students to put their completed work in the “completed work” bin and those that are not complete go into the “under construction” bin to be completed when the student has some spare time or at free choice center time. Student work sample
Once everyone is seated on their spot I tell the students we are going to watch a short funny opposite song called the Opposite Song and it is sung by The String Beans.
After the song is done I tell the students the “exit slip” for today is to tell me an adjective about the pumpkin and then give me its opposite. Once the student has given me an adjective and its opposite he/she is able to get some hand sanitizer and go get his/her snack.
Call the each student over during a time which fits into your classroom schedule. I call my students over to work with me during free choice centers time or at integrated work station time (only if I have enough parent volunteers and I am not working a station myself).
Show a student an unusual pumpkin or some other physical object – an odd shaped rock is another item I have used.
Ask the student to describe the item to you.
Ask the student to give you some opposites of the words he/she just used to describe the object.
Place a copy of the Checklist for Adjectives in the student’s portfolio.