Sunday, March 11, 2012

Connecting Instruction with Students' Outside Games

During the week of my crisis, I learned an easy way to get students interested in my lessons. Use examples of games they play outside to illustrate the meaning of key terms. I did that twice for 3rd grade and once for 2nd grade. In all three times it was pretty effective.

For both of the 3rd grade classes, I was trying to highlight what a jury is. So, first, I asked the class how many of them play two square. 80% of the class rose their hand. Then, I gave them a scenario: "Two students are playing. One knows the rules of two square, but the other does not know them very well. The student in square A hits the ball. It bounces once in square A and the student in square B hits it back after it bounces twice in his own square. Raise your hand if you think the student in B is out. (90% of the students raise their hands) What could the student in A do if the student in B didn't agree with the student in A? (A student answers that he would get other students to tell him the rules) Why do you think it would help?" The only reason why they're interested is because the example is relatable. They play two square everyday.

For 2nd grade, we read a biography about Dona Felisa Rincon de Gautier, a historical female figure. In the story, it said that the citizens admired how hard she worked. "Admire" was a vocab word for that story. So again, I ask "who has played two square?" Again, about 70 to 80% of the hands raise. What would it mean if you admired someone's skateboard (i.e. the name of a type of returning hit in two square). So, students respond with the following answers: "I would want to know how he hits it," "I would think he is good at it," "I would want to copy him and hit like him." After they make those connections, I connect their understanding to what the citizens might think of Mayor Rincon de Gautier.

In summary, playing games outside with students will give you ammunition of ways to relate instructional content to them. That is, not only will the instructional content be less foreign to them, but they will also be interested in talking about it.

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