Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Connected in the Classroom: Spatial Relationships Lesson

This week is all about teaching resources. I have two fun lessons to share with you this week - today, I'm talking about positional relationships and tomorrow, I'll be talking about a fun apple lesson! On Thursday, I have a worksheet to share with you! I'm teaching grade one, so all of these resources are catered to a grade one audience, but I'm sure you could make some little tweaks to change the grade level a little! :)

Also, I should note that this lesson aligns with education standards that are specific to the area of my teaching. If you are teaching elsewhere, you might need to make changes to better align the sontent with your curriculum.

Let's start with the objectives for this lesson. Here is what my students were expected to accomplish by the end of this lesson:
- Students will be able to understand and use positional words appropriately, in various contexts.
- Students will complete the individual cut and paste activity.
Now, on to the lesson! Here is how I planned everything...
 I started by asking the students about their existing knowledge regarding positional words. They were able to give a few, but I gave them some prompts to complete the list. In this particular lesson, I focused on above & below, in front & behind and right & left. At this point in the lesson, I took a bit of time to model what each positional word looks like. I also discussed tricks they could use to distinguish between their right and their left. As we were discussing the positional words, I wrote the word on the SMARTboard to give the students a written word to associate with the spoken word.

After we had thoroughly discussed each positional words, I guided the students attention towards the flip chart in the classroom...

I had the picture above written out on a flip chart. I also prepared little strips of construction paper that had the necessary positional words on them. I read through the sentences with the students. This was a great opportunity to reinforce their sight words. Some of them weren't able to read the entire sentence but they could identify a couple of sight words in each sentence. As we read through each sentence, I would stop at the blank space and ask them to take a little bit of time to think about how we could fill it in.

Often, after giving them the opportunity to think on their own, I gave a little bit of time to discuss their thoughts with a partner. My students are working on partner talk with their elbow buddies so this was an excellent time to reinforce what they have been practicing. After discussing in pairs, I asked one student how they would fill in the blank. Then, I opened then discussion to the entire class. I asked them to tell me if they agree with the shared answer by giving me a thumbs up or a thumbs down. If there were any alternative answers, I asked them to explain what they were thinking.

After we had filled out the flip chart, I guided the students through reading each sentence over again. We read the sentences over a couple of times, each time I read less and less. I started by leaving out the sight words, but eventually the bulk of my students were able to read (or remember) the sentences on their own.
This opening discussion and the flip chart activity took place with my students on the carpet at the front of the classroom. They are fantastic but they had about reached their limit of sitting still. So, I planned a little movement break to fit in here. We started by playing Simon Says. I used positional words to reinforce the acquired learning during the game. I used cues like:
- Put your fist in front of your knee
- Put your hand behind your back
- Put a thumbs up above your head
- Cross your fingers and put them below your chin
- Touch your right ear
- Wave to me with your left hand

I threw in a few fun ones as we were playing but for the most part, I stuck to reinforcing those positional words. I also made sure to clarify that this game is for fun - there are no outs. I have a few little competitive ones who were all about noticing who had slipped up and wanting them out. I can totally appreciate a competitive spirit but this game was for learning not for competing.

After playing Simon Says, we did the Cha Cha Slide. This song does not reinforce all of the positional words but it addresses a few of them. While there are probably songs that could better address the use of positional words, I like that this song offered many opportunities to interact with right & left. My students struggled the most with differentiating between left and right so this song was perfect. And it's just fun, they love it because it's fun.
After the movement break, the students went back to their desks and I distributed the little cut and paste activity. Each student received the 2 following papers.

I asked the students to cut out the small images on the second page and then wait for imstructions about where to glue them on the tree page. You will notice that in this last part of the assignment, I almost completely avoided using written language. I focused on reinforcing written language and reading early in this lesson and then removed it in the end. I have a few students who are not strong readers and I did not want them to fall behind because their letter recognition & phonemic awareness is weak. However, the opposite also applies. I have a handful of students who read at a grade four level! To bridge the gap between these students, I gave verbal instructions.

Giving verbal instructions kept every student moving at the same pace without 'dumbing the lesson down.' Here are the instructions that I gave:
- put the nest on the tree.
- put the sun above the tree.
- put the squirrel in front of the tree.
- put the flower under the tree.
- put the dog to the right of the tree.
- put the apple to the left of the tree.

After giving each new instruction, I gave the students a couple of minutes to glue as I walked around checking their work.

Once the activities were completed, I gave the students a bit of time to color in the drawings they had created.

And that's it! Definitely a lot of planning and work before hand, but the kiddos had a great time! It is so rewarding when they find the learning fun!

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