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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Jim B., Social Studies Teacher at Mt. Blue, November 20, 2009

   On Friday, I visited Jim's history class.  I had observed this class before as they made their way through the dark ages.  They are a good group - engaged, inquisitive, cooperative.  Jim opened the lesson by asking the students to remove a shoe and place it on the desks he had grouped together.  Next, he asked them to categorize - making at least 20 separate groups.  The group were enthusiastic and they soon had exceeded the number of categories - analyzing, regrouping, rephrasing, rethinking (the categories were recorded on the LCD - over 30) .  The students enjoyed this process and talked back and forth, problem-solving and clarifying the process.  Jim summarized the process and then explained to the students that this process would be used throughout the new unit.
   Students then moved to clarifying definitions of words they had already used.  Definitions were located using the dictionary on their laptops and then used their own wording.  Jim moved among the group offering students help where needed.
   The rationale for this lesson was excellent.  During this unit, students will need to categorize information.  Jim decided to take the time to have them categorize - practice - with something fairly easy - a test run.  We often overlook this step when working with our higher level students.  This is unfortunate.  As teachers we know we can never assume anything - regardless of the level of the group!  Thanks to Jim, these students will be able to apply this process to the new concepts they will be learning.  Bravo!


Anonymous said...

Interesting, I'd like to know more. I think that I could use this while teaching taxonomy.

Melody said...

I REALLY like this activity! What a great way to draw the kids into a new unit by giving them this fun activity! I'm interested to know what the new unit is that Jim is introducing. I'm sure this categorizing activity will be helpful for the kids during the unit and they will be excited to do it again now that they've been drawn in by this random yet fun activity. Awesome job, Jim!