The proof was in yesterday's discussion and I couldn't be more pleased. All those days of strikeouts and highlighting came to fruition......
I couldn't believe the quality of what my student's knew we talked about categorizing and building a concept map. They pretty much knew what each word meant and we were freed to discuss how the concepts fit together. I LOVED talking with them. So when I would say to them..."Watch out. The next word might be able to be in more than one category. They would actually have enough background knowledge to tie the word to two categories and independently "get" why I would say that.
Pretty soon in the conversation before I would warn them, they would be on their on their knees (we were in the pod having a carpet chat) shouting at me that it was going to be another tricky one. Well, I think they got it.
So when I threw my next ringer at them they hardly blinked. I told them that for their Publisher project the front cover of the brochure had to have an original piece of clipart. They would be creating it and then scanning it. Their clipart would be a concept map of all the vocabulary words we had just designated that might be in the catalog. Most of them thought they could do that, with a little bit of help, and actually thought it would be pretty cool to draw it and get to use the scanner.
I don't think they think that all the reading and crossing out was worth it. Why would they? They're kids. But they know they know stuff that they wouldn't know if I had just turned them loose to read without a real defined way of zeroing in on the meaning of the text. Not that they'd admit it without a lot of arm twisting (not literally of course). But I do sense a bit of pride that they have in themselves and that makes me happy.
This is not how it has been in the past when I've taught this unit. I'm now thinking about how to assess their understanding. I've been working with my partner and we're going to use Inspiration and create some webs. Then we'll leave the links blank. They'll have to fill in linking words that describe how the words are related. Think that will give us the best measurement of their understanding. But before we can assess them that way we'll need to create a couple of practice experiences....so I'm busy creating 2 all class warmups and then 2 online teacher handouts they can do independently. Taken with their Publisher concept map, that should be enough.
I think I actually did something good. I'll take it however I can get it.