Statistics and crime map…
Oct 10 Published in Remembrance, Reflections by Purple
This is a continuation of my journal from my 2001-2002 school year. Please read the previous posts to give this entry context.
I’m pleased as punch and proud as a peacock of my apostrophe lesson. Step one: I put up three columns on the board:
Smart Smarter Genius
don’t student’s book students’ books
I’ll child’s toy children’s toys
should’ve Jessica’s nose the girls’ gym
I let the students know that I’m going to ask each of them to come up and add an item to a list. I do NOT explain the lists. I give them a moment to think and I recommend that they have a plan B, especially for the first column, because someone else might use their word. This anxiety tends to make students want to volunteer.
We go around the room and usually all students are able to add something to one of the lists. I let students pass, but let them know I will return to them. All students are included. If someone makes a mistake, I simply tell them to move their apostrophe or that their phrase belongs in a different column. Once we have the three lists finished, I see if the students can come up with the real names of the three categories of apostrophe usage. With prompting and hints, they usually can. From there, we proceed to the rule for the apostrophe usage with each group.
Then comes the fun part. I have a couple of hundred small pieces of paper with contractions, phrases like she’s going, and possessive phrases like ox’s cart and children’s playground. I throw in some fun ones like Jackie’s back. Students go to their assigned learning groups and each group is given an equal number of cards. The groups compete against one another to be the first group to have all the cards lined up correctly in the three categories of apostrophe usage. I use participation points as prizes.
As the groups think they have the cards arranged, I walk around, saying, “Nope. Two mistakes still,” etc. One thing I’ve learned about group work is that the teacher still has to be involved. To be successful, groups need monitoring.
This exercise is great for team building and reinforcing the apostrophe lesson. When one group does have all the answers, I go to the other groups, show them their mistakes and explain the reasons. We pass the sets of cards counterclockwise to the next group and run the contest again. Four times for four groups.
We continue our lesson with the more traditional worksheets, but I also have students come to the board and write sentences using apostrophes. The sentences are often about them, usually a good way to increase interest with ninth graders.