Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Lesson Up Express: January Jaunts

The Lesson Up Express:  January Jaunt

Many of us, students and teachers alike, fall victim to the PHD (Post Holiday Doldrums) Plague after the nonstop excitement and frequent vacations from Halloween to the New Year. We can ward off this virus in their classrooms by guiding our charges through engaging learning journeys that encourage our students to unplug ITunes and to tune into ILearn.
Colleagues: Check out these offerings for a January Jaunt. They will hook students with lessons that intrigue and challenge. These activities reinforce previously learned concepts, promote reading comprehension and instill deductive, critical and analytic thinking skills, both orally and in writing. Each lesson conveys specific assessments and outcomes, is a teacher-led and student-centered activity, and provides the opportunity for our charges to accept ownership of their work. I am a firm believer that if they are to succeed, students need to Hear, Read, Think, Write, Speak and Do as often as possible. The activities selected for the January Jaunt allow them to do this as they combine the events and celebrations of the month with their comprehension and understanding of any literature study from this academic year.

Some students prefer to work independently and dislike group work. Others are stimulated by their peers and enjoy sharing thoughts and ideas. Some want step-by-step instructions and others need only to be presented with a task and can take it from there. Some want to analyze a concept, a character’s motivations or the cause and effect of a situation; others want to imagine the whys and why nots of a character’s actions and interactions. In other words: Left Brain-Right Brain-Whole Brain.

What this boils down to is Choices. Each lesson and activity must offer structured tasks as well as those that are more creative. We must always challenge our students to think, to analyze and to evaluate; but we must also give them time to dramatize, to sketch and to create. By doing so, each journey will be memorable.
Note: The Dynamite Resolutions and Hail to the Chief activities can be individual or group work. For the latter, the members of the group will need to divide the tasks;  Score Big With the Literature Super Bowl is a group activity and Dare to Dream works best as an individual assignment.

Above picture:
This is a great way to keep students focused on the literature they are studying when they are psyched up for the big game.
Students can add some belief to their own dreams with this activity.

Some fictional characters still might need to compose their resolutions for this year. Check out this activity.

 Get students thinking about all things presidential as they await the inauguration.

Have an exciting January Jaunt on the Lesson Up Express.


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