Sunday, February 17, 2013

President's Day Literacy: Fact and Opinion & More Suffixes!

Happy three-day weekend to everyone! (At least I hope everyone has at least a three-day weekend).

When I was deciding what we should work on the shortened week after President's Day, I started to think about some of the background knowledge that I have been assuming my students have. I realized there were two (rather glaring) skills that I needed to work on.

First, my students need to focus on the difference between fact and opinion. As we have been diving into those super tough common core comprehension standards, I have been seeing that students were often stating their opinions as facts, using their schema to make assumptions about the readings that were not supported by the text. I realized that we needed to work on differentiating between the two.

I started off by explaining that facts are something that are always true, and opinions are how you or someone else feels about something. I gave a few examples of each and had students sort as a class (all written on sentence strips-I wish I had a picture!). Then students broke into a turn-and-talk and came up with their own examples of facts and opinions. For centers, students worked on the President's Day fact and opinion sort. All statements are centered around Lincoln, Washington, and the President's Day Holiday. My hope is as they practice this they will be better able to analyze text with evidence rather than just their opinion.

The second skill I realized that I needed to work on with my students was the difference between the suffixes -er and -est. My students are primarily ELL and often have difficulty with distinguishing these subtleties in English. Most students would always use the word "better" instead of "best" in their writing and omit "-est" words in spoken language all together. 

To teach this concept I brought three students to the front of the classroom. Student A was tall. I gave her a card with the word "tall" written on it. Student B was taller. I gave him a card with the word "taller" written on it. When I brought up Student C (the tallest) I asked students how we would describe Student C. Most students said taller, rather than offering tallest as the answer. I explained that when there are more than 2 things being compared, the word ends in the suffix "est." I handed Student C a card with the word "tallest" on it. I then wrote up on the board: -er means more, comparing only 2 things. -est means most, comparing 3 or more things. 

My practiced this idea with a few more adjectives: small, sad, and happy. We thought of examples of things that could be small, something smaller, and something smallest. It was hard at first for students to think of the least extreme example first, but they got the hang of it by happy.

They practiced the concept during centers using the President's Day -er, -est suffix activity.

Now that I have that all figured out, back to work on my Common Core Folktale Unit. It is my biggest undertaking yet, these new standards are KILLING me! :) Although I must admit, I'm enjoying the challenge.

1 comment:

  1. Good luck with your folk tale unit. I taught folk tales earlier in the year and the kids loved it. Happy to have found your blog.

    Looking From Third to Fourth


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