Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Real World Connections

Luckily, I don't teach Algebra! I'm not sure I could make a real-world connection to the use of that math subject. :)  I do try, however, to connect what we are learning to real-world events. One of my favorite ways is to use photographs to start off our morning meeting. I tie it into Unanswered Questions and into Social Studies. It's a 5-minute activity and a great way to warm-up those brains. This site:

MSNBC This Week in Pictures

has pictures submitted from around the world and update it with new pics weekly. They range from political to human interest to nature to downright adorable. They have archives that go back years-I've been collecting their pics for awhile now. I usually put them in a powerpoint format, so I can project it for the students to look at.  (You can't save them, but if you hit "print screen" then you can paste them into any file you want to). We ask questions like who are these people, what is their relationship, what are they doing, where is this, is this America, how can you tell? Sometimes we compare 2 pictures-like an Inuit child playing in the snow and a Saudi Arabian child jumping rope-what's the same, what's different? How are they like you?

Because of this activity my students can talk about cultures of other countries, make inferences (I take all their guesses to what is happening first before I tell them what the picture is really of), and sometimes problem-solving-what would you do in this situation, how can they solve this problem (one pic has a car in a swimming pool, for example). They practice speaking in complete sentences, learn new vocab. All those objectives hit, in like I said, about 5 minutes per day. I wouldn't allow the kids on the site on their own-there are some images from war and protests that wouldn't be appropriate-but I find at least 2-3 pictures per week posted that we can use.

Workstations: since housekeeping centers have pretty much become rare in Kinder classrooms these days, I try to make up for that in some workstations.

For one example: I have a real picnic basket and very life-like plastic food. The object is to match the names of the foods to the correct words on the plates. They learn particularly names for fruits and vegetables that they weren't familiar with in this activity. I really like the ESL component in it as well-as close to real food as we can get!

A class favorite:

When my sister was little a neighbor built this dollhouse for her. She was tired of storing it; and asked if I could use it for my class. Again I saw the potential for my ESL learners. They talk to each other-often with the mom yelling at the dad for being late-not sure what that's about! :) Use their imaginations, learn new vocab (we don't have many fireplace pokers in Texas). Then after the timer goes off they write a story about what happened with the dollhouse family. Very exciting writing workstation for the kiddos.
The kids need learning to be connected to what they see everyday-it definitely makes things more interesting for them!

1 comment :

  1. These are all fabulous ideas -- thanks for sharing!