We know that multiple meaning words pose unique problems to students, and we try to call attention to them when we come across them in discussions, on assignments, and in our reading. To prepare children for these challenges, we need to model the strategies that help students to show their knowledge of multiple meaning words.
Boys and girls come meet me on the rug. How many of you know how to jump with two feet together? How many of you can jump with one foot? What times do you need to jump? Can you jump over things?
I am going to read a nursery rhyme about a character who jumps over something. If you think you know who it is, blow the name into your hand until I am done reading.
Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candlestick.
I will say the first line of "Jack be Nimble" and then I want you to echo. Does anyone know what it means to be nimble? (It means that you are flexible.)
"Jack be quick". Echo. What does quick mean? (It means fast.)
"Jack jump over the candlestick" Here is a candlestick. (Show an example. It is for holding candles.)
Why do you think Jack needs to be quick? Why do you think Jack wanted to jump over the candlestick? Do you think he should do that? Why or why not?
In our classrooms, we must provide an environment that is conducive to all modalities of learners. We commonly consider four modalities.
Visual learners easily remember visual details and prefer to see what they are learning.
Auditory learners remember by talking out loud, and like to have things explained orally. Auditory learners may talk to themselves when learning something new.
Kinesthetic learners prefer activities that allow them to do what they are learning about.
Tactile learners like to touch things in order to learn about them and like to move around when talking or listening.
What it all comes down to is the more senses or modalities we can activate, the more learning will take place. This is why I like my students to read, write, sing, and act-out nursery rhymes. Using different modalities allows children to develop an awareness of language that will help them to become better readers and writers.
Have any of you heard of Jack being in any other nursery rhymes? (Accept any answers: Little Jack Horner, Jack and Jill, Jack Sprat, etc.)
Let's try another rhyme with you repeating what I say: Little Jack Horner, Sat in a corner, Eating his Christmas pie; He put in his thumb, And pulled out a plum, And said, "What a good boy am I!"
Give me a thumbs-up if you have eaten plums before. What would your mom think if you were picking plums out of a pie with your thumb? Could the events of this rhyme really happen? Why do you think Jack is sitting in the corner?
Remember when Mother Goose came to our school? (We were fortunate to have a local artisan act as Mother Goose to begin our unit about Nursery Rhymes.) She had some of the children act out the rhymes like "Jack be Nimble". We will be learning these rhymes about Jack and then acting them out.
I have two props, a stool and a pie plate, to help one of our friends as he acts out the rhyme, "Little Jack Horner". I call a volunteer to act out the scene. I give him a little prompt and then the class recites the rhyme.
Great job. Let's give a nice round of applause for our actor. I think you are ready to try another rhyme--Jack and Jill. I think there are a lot of you that know this rhyme, but let's echo again:
Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water, Jack fell down and broke his crown...and Jill came tumbling after. I am curious about the word fetch. What does that mean? Have you fetched anything before? What about the word pail? Do you use a pail?
I need two children to help me again--one boy to play Jack, and one girl to play Jill. We will say the rhyme, but you will act it out. Use your imagination since we don't have a hill in the room.
What happened to Jack? He broke his crown. What is Jack's crown? He wasn't a king, so it must be part of his head.
Here is the last Jack rhyme that I have for you today. We will learn it like we did the other rhymes, and then you will act it out. You will have to work with a buddy. I will choose your buddy for you using my random selection sticks (Popscicle sticks with the children's names on them). This rhyme is called "Jack Sprat". I think this must be about Jack when he grew up.
Jack Sprat could eat no fat. His wife could eat no lean. And so between the two of them, they licked their platters clean.
Let's take apart the rhyme. Here is Jack. He will not eat anything that has fat, like french fries or steak or hamburgers. He will only eat fruits and vegetables.
Here is his wife. She could eat no lean. Can you guess what she likes to eat? She likes to eat all of the things that Jack won't eat. So between the two of them, they lick their platters clean. This is an expression of eating up all of their food. It doesn't mean that they really lick their plates. A platter is a large plate.
Now pair up with your buddy and decide if you are going to be Jack or his wife. If there are two boys in the group, we will say "his friend" instead of wife. Then I will give you each a paper plate. If you are Jack, you not eat fat, so what would you draw on your plates? If you are Jack's wife (or friend), what would you draw on your plate? Although we have talked about it, I would like to see how well you can tell the different meanings of some words by drawing some things on your plates.
Next, plan how you will share this and act this out. I will call each group up to say the rhyme for our class.
Observe how each group responds to the rhyme to see if they were following the dialog about the nursery rhyme. Do they use their "platter" props correctly? Do they perform in a way that shows understanding of "licking their platters clean"? (CLeaning their plates versus actual licking.)