Thursday, December 2, 2010

Some Dog

This lesson is like tossing a bone of a different flavor to a dog over and over again.

After three years of trying it every which way, I'm not going to do it anymore. I will continue to do the beginning as a mini-lesson but enough with trying to turn it into a project. I read the book, Some Dog, by Mary Casanova to grade 2 students. The book is a good mentor text with a strong character and a clear beginning, middle, and end to the story. I read the book and we discuss the character traits of George and Zippity. We also talk about how the character changes from the beginning to the end. This part of the lesson goes well every year and ties in with the language arts curriculum.

Then I try projects. And, they never quite work. 

The first year I tried having students make videos. They had a blast with it, but it was too hard and not much learning was going on. They didn't have the technology or small motor skills to run a web cam. I ditched that lesson and tried the next year to integrate with the IT coordinator. That time I tried a summary frame; something taught to our staff by Bob Darnell, a consultant who came to the school for professional development. This was too hard for the students to do and the lesson got dragged out over months. It didn't work well with 10 day rotations and 5-6 classes. The IT teacher had the kids make posters and I made an oversized ABC book that displayed their work (photo above). However, this year the IT teacher is subbing in the classroom and I tried a mini book. The lesson has covered about 2 months and 3 sessions. Again this is too long. One teacher liked the lesson and said he would like me to do it with his class but have his students choose a "just right" book and tie it in with one they've studied and are familiar with. So I guess I haven't completely dumped the lesson idea. If part of the writing is done in the classroom then it might work. After 10 days the students can't remember the story they are writing about. I wonder if I've dumbed down the writing too much. It would be good to work closely with a grade 2 teacher to find out what they think.

Here's the lesson:

Lesson 1: Read the book and go over on white board character traits and how the character changes from the beginning to the end of the story.

Lesson 2: Read the book and write a rough draft. (Drop this and go to lesson 3. Rough draft confused them.)

Lesson 3: Fold a sheet of paper in half that has a box for a picture at the top and lines to write on below. Have students read the book and follow the outline on the sheet below. Have them mark the page number in the book that shows which picture they want. Have them write the story and print off the pictures for them to glue on.

Try to keep your sanity ; )

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