Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Determining Importance with a Pretty Olive Purse!

I have professed my unyielding love for Comprehension Connections on this blog already, but I seriously am smitten with that book.  Tanny McGregor changed the way I thought about teaching reading strategies by making me think about presenting an abstract concept in a concrete way.

I always use this lesson to launch the Determining Importance strategy... and when I say always... I mean I've done it for the whopping three years that I've been teaching third grade.  Regardless, of my lack of tenure, it's been a hit every year with my kiddos.  In the past, I've created the "I'm going running after school at the track, what should I take with me and what should I keep in the car?" scenario.  This year, I had to get creative.  Considering that I've had two knee surgeries in a year and I'm still a little unsteady at times I didn't think my class would buy that scenario. 

 Essentially, I dumped out the contents of my purse to sort into three categories MUST KEEP, MIGHT NEED, AND DOESN'T NEED.  Surprisingly I had less expendables than expected!   We sorted items into each category after discussing each item.  They were able to determine that while we may be able to argue that a woman might need lipstick, she probably doesn't need six tubes of lip products in their purse at any given point of time! Hahaha! They also told me that I didn't need to have deodorant in my purse.  I happen to be the kind of person who re-applies several times a day.  I have no idea why or when my OCD started, but it's my sad reality every day.  Luckily, my vice helped us to discuss how sometimes different people have different values or beliefs.  "Importance" is a somewhat relative term.  What some people deem as unimportant, others may view as critical.  Through lots of dialogue, the students demonstrated that they understood the concept.  This allowed me to bridge the gap between what we do on a daily basis as we constantly assess what is important or unimportant... and what we do as readers as we sift through information in the text!





        

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