Friday, November 30, 2012

Weekend Homework

UOI: Home survey

Task: Talk to your parents about how your house/family is governed. Some questions you may discuss:

* What systems are in place?
* How do these systems affect your life?
* What will happen if one of the systems stops working?
* What are the responsibilities of each individual?
* What are the rights of each individual?
* How are problems solved?
* Who takes the major decisions? Why?

You can also make a pictorial representation of the same.

English: Using reading strategy: Create

Task: Make an advertisement for the book you are reading. The poster must:

* Be visually appealing with bright colours and less text
* Make the viewers want to read the book
* Have interesting captions (use simile (as __ as a ____) and alliterations (words starting from same sound) if possible)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Reading for understanding

It isn't like I'm an expert in reading, but I would like to share how I go about it in the classroom.

It goes unsaid that the best way to enhance language skills in any child is through extensive reading and by accomplishing follow-up tasks. At a school where most of the students need assistance in English, reading becomes an essential part of our daily routines.

Based on their reading and comprehension levels, each student in my class has been given a book to read. Everyday, they are given to time to read one or two chapters. Based on the chapters, the students do a variety of tasks. Each day, we focus on a different reading strategy (Predict, Skim and Scan, Visualise, connect, Create, Wonder, Evaluate, Infer and Summarise). Students choose a task related to the reading strategy chosen on that day. For example, today, we focused on 'Create'. Few chose to create posters, others created comic scripts. Some students also created role plays. Some students worked in groups and others worked individually. 

We keep modifying the way we cater to reading in the classroom. This keeps the students engaged and exited. Earlier, the students were given 'reading bingo' sheets from which they chose tasks. At the moment, we are following 'strategy of the day'. Soon, we will begin with structured novel study. We also regularly do guided reading using the Oxford Reading Tree books.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Circle activity

We did a very interesting activiliy in math yesterday. The students were asked to cut out a circle from coloured A4 sheets. They learnt the different pars of the circle by 'playing' with this circle cut-out. For example, the edge of the shape is the cicumference. The line created when they folded the circle into two equal halfs is called a diameter. The line created when the circle is folded into a quarter is the radius. The cross-section of these two lines in the center. The smaller part of the circumference is the arc. The line created when they randomly folded the circle is the chord. The chord divides the circle into sectors.

After getting thorough with this vocabulary, the students created more 2D shapes with the circle: a cone (by folding it twice so that the circumference touches the center); a triangle (doing the same thrice); a trapezium (folding one end of the triangle); a hexagon (folding all three ends of the triangle) and a rhombus (Folding two ends of a triangle). They also created a tetrahedron (triangular based pyramid) by holding together the three corners of the triangle.

Apart from being informative, the engagement was highly engaging for the students, especially the girls. Some of the boys did mention that they didn't like sitting in the same place for a long time... :) Most of the students felt they were doing origami!!

Free time in the classroom

I'm sure my Principal will be alarmed by reading the title! Jokes apart, giving some (structured) free time to the students in the classroom is a very effective way to channelise their energies in the right direction.

We all have routines at home, but, aren't there times when we need a break from our schedules to either catch-up on something or just to suffice our yearning for 'change'. At times, we priorotize things that need more attention from us at that particular point of time. When we say that a classroom is like a second home for a child, then doesn't the same rationale apply to them as well?? Change can a be a source of motivation for all of us.

Our current unit is on buildings and structures and the students have been engrossed in making many models using different materials, especially legos. Lately I have been giving them some time during classes to make whatever they want with the legos and the 2D and 3D shapes. Doing this has enhanced the creativity of the students and has made them feel like architects and engineers.

When the students spend time with model making, I sit with students who need more assistance in basic skills like reading and arithmetic. It has been working well for me as well as the students - A Win Win situation!