Saturday, November 24, 2012

What's a Wop?

Many moons ago now when it was still warm out and the students would come in from recess looking like they just got out of a pool, I tried an idea [I got from one of the Japanese teachers] to help my students better grasp word families; words with the same pattern.

This beginning was a great way to assess where my students were. Could they see the pattern? Did they know words that ended in __op?

As this was the beginning of the year, I put up on the board the pattern "__op". Then I asked the students to give me a letter to fill in the word.

While the students were giving me ideas, I put them on the board. While I was doing this, I was explaining the words they did not know. I did this until they gave me a word that made no sense. As soon as they gave me that word (this time it was wop), I put it on the board and told them that a wop was an animal and they had to draw it.

Dr. Seuss-like spelling. Today we drew a “wop”. What’s a wop?

They all looked at me as if I were crazy and doing something really unfair. They complained that they did not know what it looked like. I again told them that did not matter and that anything they drew would be OK. I told them to use their imaginations. This was really hard for them after always being asked to draw something they had seen before.

After they drew their version of the wop, I told then to add to the picture some of the other words that we came up with.

This is a Wop.

This was the first time I did it, and I tried it again a few days after this, but it was not as good. I am going to try this again though. Maybe I need to leave more time in between when I do the activities to make it more successful.

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