Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Descriptive Words (Part 1)

Here is a lesson that I did with my grade 8's to help improve their use of descriptive words (or just coming up with other words to use).

I started off the class by telling them we were going to make sandwiches (they were jam and butter because I didn't want to be the person to bring peanut butter into the school even though there are no allergies in my grade 8 classes). I showed them the bread and the containers I had put the butter and jam into. Then I asked for a volunteer that wanted a sandwich.

The volunteer went to the back of the room, faced the wall, and told me exactly how to make the sandwich. Whatever they told me I did.

It started off as "take the bread and put the jam and butter on it" so I took the loaf of bread (still in the bag) and put the containers of butter and jam on top of it.

Then it progressed to "take the knife and put it in the container of jam" since they didn't tell me to take the lid off the jam I stabbed the lid of the container with the knife until it broke. The kids loved it.

Eventually we got the containers opened and it turned to "take the jam and spread it all over one piece of bread" so I would take the jam and spread it on every side and edge of one piece of bread.

By this point we had probably made at least 5 sandwiches and they were catching on (after each person had told me how to make their sandwich they turned around to see what it made).

They had a lot of fun and keep asking me if we can make sandwiches again.

Luckily for them, I've volunteered my grade 8 classroom for the board members to come to observe and participate in. I think we will have the board members choose a student to be their "chef" and then they can take turns facing the back of the room. Hopefully something memorable happens (in a good sort of way) so that they remember me when they are thinking about jobs for next year.

I used this lesson in a grade 8 classroom but it would definitely work at a variety of age levels.  I could see my grade 4's loving it (too bad I don't teach them ELA) and I have a friend who did something very similar to describe how the scientific process works.

Part 2 of this lesson is coming up next week.  Stay tuned!

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