On a recent drive on a suburban street in upstate NY this sign caught my attention. I was very confused - should I be looking out for ducks crossing the road? turtles crossing the road? or is this what a turtle looks like?
It struck me that students who are learning our language may spend much of their school day confused about what we are telling them. For example, a few weeks ago I heard an Algebra teacher repeatedly saying "it's a piece of cake" as he walked students through their math equations. And I am guilty of often saying things like "aim higher" or "it's time to ratchet it down a notch."
My goal this week is to be explicit in my directions and verbal interactions with students. I hope to:
How would you use the word “synthesize” on a trip to Pizza Hut? That’s the question we asked 9th grade students recently. Their academic vocabulary word for the day was “synthesize” and we wanted to make sure they really knew it well. After reviewing the definition, discussing synonyms and providing some example sentences, we had the students play Deal or No Deal.
I have 20 briefcases, numbered on the outside and laminated, with locations written inside. We told the class that in our version of Deal or No Deal they would win a trip somewhere instead of money. One student was chosen to be our contestant. He approached the board while enthusiastic students hollered for their favorite number. He chose briefcase #6, which won the class an imaginary trip to Pizza Hut. Students were then told to turn to a peer and think of a way to use “synthesize” on a trip to a pizza parlor.
“If you want to be cool, you have to synthesize what you know about school cliques, gangs and today’s dramas to decide where to sit in Pizza Hut.”
“The manager has to synthesize his knowledge of customer preferences with the cost of various toppings.”
“I have to synthesize what I know about calories and healthy eating, along with how much I exercised today.”
Anne M. Beninghof
Anne's mission is to improve instruction through collaboration and the sharing of creative, practical ideas for educators.
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