Friday, December 30, 2011

Use Trash to Teach Inference

Now that  I have your attention, I want to tell you about a great professional book that I read.  (.. and I promise to tell you how to use trash to teach inference).

Here is the book:
Comprehension Connections Publisher: Heinemann
Comprehension Strategies

Here is why I LOVE this book:
This book ties in with the books Mosaic of Thought and Reading for Meaning.  The author (Tanny McGregor) gives a concrete way to teach each reading strategy.  For example, to teach "Determining Importance" Tanny brings in her purse (after censoring the contents a bit) and shows all of the items inside to the class.  She tells the class she is going jogging after school and can only carry a few items while she jogs so has to pick the most important.  Tanny has the students engage in conversations to determine which items she should carry with her and why.  Then in later determining importance lessons, the purse activity can be referred back to.  ("Remember when we decided which were the most important items in my purse?)  For each strategy, Tanny details several activities, not just one.  I love metaphors and this book is full of them!

I have used the beginning lessons in this book to reteach metacognition and plan to move on to schema in January.  My students LOVED the lessons on metacognition and each activity really seemed to build their understanding.  Parents even commented on what their children were coming home and telling them.  Hurrah!

This book has really made me think about my teaching.  It is so easy to teach concepts abtractly by just talking about them.  That is the quickest way to teach and the easiest way to plan.  But it doesn't lead to true understanding.  Reading this book has made me wonder how else I can use concrete activities to teach abstract concepts in EVERY subject.

For more ideas on bringing the concepts in this book to life, check out this website:
Reading Resource

Love to all,

P.S.  Using trash to teach inference:
Tanny brought in garbage that were supposedly from a new neighbor that she wanted to learn more about.  She gave each group a trash bag and asked them to tell her everything they could about her neighbors.  Students had to support each inference.  Can you imagine how fun this would be?!?!?

1 comment:

  1. This is the 2nd time I've seen this book on break I think I need it! Thanks for sharing :)