Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Graphic Organizer For Gaining Student Attention

Based on Four Instructional Routines

Helping the student get into an assignment is just as valuable as getting them through the assignment. If they don’t get into it and build interest, how or why would give their attention to what, in English, is sometimes dry, outdated, and not multicultural or relevant to a 15 year old freshman in high school. If the students can connect emotionally to the topic or subject—before the direct instruction—they have a better chance of remembering what they learned because it’s affective and has meaning for them.

It’s my job to get them excited about the topic and help them to see how it connects to their lives.  I appreciated reading about Fisher and Frey’s excellent anticipatory activities to “activate background knowledge, elicit curiosity, provide questions, and evoke recall of newly learned material (scaffolding), and shift the learning to the student.” Many of the other activities Fisher and Frey provide are new to me. I’d like to use some of their suggested anticipatory “demonstrations, discrepant events, visual displays and thought-provoking (essential) questions in my classroom.

Discrepant Events
Visual Displays
Thought-provoking (essential) questions
Using technology to show a slides show of images (Cask of Amontillado). Using technology to show videos that support instruction (JFK assassination, JFK conspiracy theories).
Dramatic reading that sets the mood for a creepy story with sound effects, dim lights, costumes, props, and realia.
The Virtual Interview (p. 24) of a historical person that connects to a story or topic is a great idea. The teacher video-tape is great, but a low-budget version would be to have the teacher dress up and let the students or a panel of students interview them in class. Also, an interesting through or beyond activity may be to have the students interview each other as characters. The other great ideas from the chapter include the Three Step Interview (p. 26) where students interview each other about a quickwrite, or create a poem out of a quickwrite.
Art and magazine photographs for students to study and use descriptive language to describe the images without using fluffy or empty words. They should write their description so the reader will be able to picture the picture in their mind, then draw or write a poem.
What is beauty?
What is truth?
The Anticipation Guide (p. 31) will likely help student to shift their perspective and possibly change their minds about topics; especially if they first start by using the guide and answering interesting and controversial statements that set-up a text or story we’re discussing in class.
I’ve seen KWL inquiry in practice and it’s very helpful. I used KWL in my vocabulary lesson plan because it involves all three (into, through, and beyond) phases of instruction.

I appreciate how science and other fields lend themselves to hands-on, visual, and kinesthetic anticipatory activities. In English, with reading , writing, and speaking, it’s a bit more challenging to have demonstrations and include kinesthetic and hands-on activities. I always try to stretch myself to think about how to incorporate multiple subjects and multimodalities for every lesson. Realia and the internet add many options to bring a lesson to life for the students, as well as helping English-learner and special needs students meet the learning objectives and succeed in the student activities.

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