Last week, my students were in the midst of the Expository unit and I was running out of ideas. Turning to my colleagues and WONDER friends, I was provided with an awesome activity and a great way to teach students how to follow directions:
Not only is this an engaging way to teach students how to properly follow directions, it assesses how well the students really do follow directions. The point I try to hammer with my students when discussing the concept of following directions or any sort of process is that: if you do not do the process/steps/directions correctly, you WILL NOT get your product.
Sometimes they get this point. Sometimes they don’t. With this lesson, they WILL get this point and it WILL click with them. It’s actually quite humorous to see. The students who correctly followed the directions will proudly display their work of art, while those who missed a step or did not follow the steps correctly will pout and elicit help from those with the beautifully folded birds.
In my lesson, I distributed a passage about the history of Japanese origamiand as we read, we discussed key words, the main idea, and the organizational pattern of the passage. After reading, I distributed some colored paper and a set of directions (at random). I then directed the students to closely read and follow the directions and see what they come out with. All but three students were unable to correctly follow the directions and when they asked for help, I gave them hints and another sheet of paper, telling them to try again.
The second time, all three students who failed the first time, succeeded the second.
The best part of the lesson, I think, is the self satisfaction the students get when they realize they’ve completed a task correctly and the internal motivation to use this lesson on every other lesson to ensure correctness the first time.
And what’s even cooler (and what proves my point from previous entries) is that there’s a WONDER for the lesson (http://bit.ly/WroeTT)!
There really is a wonder for everything. And if there’s not, let us know! We’ll make a wonder for it.
So when you’re running out of ideas and need inspiration, turn to your WONDER friends. They’re the best resource a teacher can have.
Thanks for reading and remember to always WONDER!