Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mixed-up Day (hands-on reading activity)

During our numbers/time unit, my 7th graders practice reading times with a hands-on time sorting activity that I created.  Originally, it was just a worksheet where they read the Spanish times and wrote what they meant as numbers, then ranked them to put them in order from early morning through night. 

One day, while watching volunteers drag the time phrases in order on the SMARTboard to check the worksheet, I realized that the whole activity would be so much better and more fun if everybody could physically drag the phrases.  So, I printed out all the Spanish time phrases in a larger font, cut them out and made them sturdier with construction paper and lamination, and this hands-on reading activity was born.

Each pair of students gets a set of cards with Spanish times that include a.m./p.m. phrases and they work with their partner to arrange the cards going down through a day, with midnight at the top and late night at the bottom.  I give them wet-erase markers so they can write the times on the cards as they work, if they want.

hands-on learning in progress!
At this point, we haven't yet learned "midnight" and "noon" but there's a card for each in the set for them to "guess".  It's fun to listen to them figuring these out since they already know "día", "noche" and have recently learned "y media" for "half past", so they usually get it!

Being able to manipulate the cards makes the activity incredibly more engaging than a worksheet (especially for middle schoolers!) and fuels collaboration.  I love listening to the pairs negotiating meaning and seeing them utterly absorbed in moving the cards into the correct order. 

We still check on the SMARTboard with the "Sentence Arrange" activity from the gallery, but even that is better because they can literally make sure the screen looks just like what's on their table.  The activity makes way more sense and (hopefully) sinks in a lot more since they get to physically arrange the phrases.

Later I'll share some more examples of hands-on learning from other units!

1 comment:

  1. Looks really good, Jennifer. I like the idea of "fuels collaboration".


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