In my lesson openers I always have a "connect" in which I connect students' thinking about yesterday's lesson to today's lesson. I then have a "teach" in which I model for students the lesson of the day and also have them try it out. When I think about my modeling I use three categories; skill, strategy, and process. I model by stating the skill to the students, then giving them a strategy in which to use the skill, followed by the process to try out the strategy.
Connect: I will say, We have just finished a unit on research essay in which you wrote about a topic and researched it. Today you we are going to start a unit in which you will use the research writing skills we have gained and apply to researching and writing about an invention you will create.
Teach: I will say, “In order to build upon our research skills we are going to think about an invention that would help us in our daily lives. I am going to practice the skill of generating ideas about problems I would like to solve in my life and the strategy watching short video clips of other people’s solutions to their problems, then generating my own ideas. The process I will use is as follows:
1) Watch video clips of other people’s inventions*
2) Generating ideas of a problems in my life by using a timeline of my day
3) Generating possible solutions to the problems in my daily life
4) Write out the problem I am having and the solution I am thinking of.
I will show students of video clips from ABC’s Shark Tank. Students will write down a three column chart; invention/problem/solution. I will then show students how I timeline out my day and come up with possible solutions to the annoyances of daily life. For example, I hate getting up in the morning, maybe a solution would be a mattress cover that would nudge me out of bed. I also take too long in the shower, so maybe a solution would be a shower head with a timer that automatically shuts off the water (this has already been invented, but this example with help with research later).
*http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TGM4krsLFA 2:22-Fairytale Wishes (Monster Repellent) 26:53-Rapid Ramen Cooker
*http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUmj8NdVCvQ 2:04-Mango Mango (sauce) 30:39-Dog Clothing
*http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g31M8WmKeqg SoundBender (amplifies sound from a smartphone of tablet)
Active Engagement: “Now you are going to think through your notes from Shark Tank and think about solutions to daily annoyances in your life. Make a two column chart with problems on one side and solutions on the other ” I will check for understanding by looking over the shoulder of every level of learner (at least 3 students-one who is at standard, one is approaching standard, and one who is above standard).
Closing of Active Engagement: I will say, “Remember, writers practice the skill of generating ideas about problems they would like to solve in their own life and the strategy getting ideas to other people’s solutions to their problems in order to generate ideas of their own.
Independent Practice: Students will be directed then to continue to brainstorm, then to write long about one problem in their life and one solution (or more depending on the time). I will have an example ready for them with transitions at paragraphs and different types of sentences.They should write for at least 20 minutes if not more.
As I write, I am also pointing out that I am thinking through my transitioning of paragraphs and sentences as I am writing (even when generating). Writing while using a variety of sentences (simple, compound and complex) was something my students are still struggling with and I want to ensure, that every time we write, we are constantly practicing sentence structure. In their final drafts of their last project, all students pargraphed automatically (yes!), but were either not using transitions or low level ones (e.g. first,second, third). I want to ensure they are always practicing high level transitions (e.g.furthermore, moreover, lastly).
I will confer with them as they write using the Possible Conferences for Generating Ideas for the Text Structures Project.docx
Partner Work: Students will be directed to turn and share with their partner. I will say, “Decide who will be partner A and who will be partner B. Partner A you will share what you have written so far. Partner B, I want you to listen in order to gain ideas from Partner A. Then give them feedback; tell them an idea of what they could add or let them know what ideas you gained from their writing. Then you will switch.”
I believe that the end of the lesson should be an assessment of the days’ learning; therefore it should be independent work. I always end class with an “exit ticket” in which students write down the response to a question.
Closing:“What invention did you come up with? What problem were you trying to solve with the invention?
Here are our initial invention ideas! We are on our way to the "rich life!"