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Ask any elementary school teacher, he or she will agree that keeping students in quiet activities is a challenge. Today's students are doers. They enjoy hands-on activities that challenge them, inspire them and teach them. Balancing quiet time for reading with a reading comprehension activity that gets the students up moving creates a positive atmosphere for learning.
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The Find Me Game
The object of this game is to have students find the answers to questions from something they have read. The assignment may be to read an article, chapter, page or other type of text. Students should read the text just before the game. This allows students with retention difficulties to participate with a higher opportunity to succeed. By working together, students will find the answers to their assigned questions, as well as affirm or enhance the knowledge they gained in reading the text.
Before class, write out enough questions for half the class on the reading passage from the text, each on a separate index card. Next, write the answers for each question more individual index cards.
Guidelines for this game are -
- Students walk quietly around the classroom/gym/or other contained area
- Once a match is found, the pair goes to the front of the class
- The teacher checks to see if the pair match, if not, students continue to search
- Matching pairs take their seat until everyone is done (Note: This is an excellent opportunity to have students do some reflective writing in their journals.)
Let the Game Begin
When class starts, read the assigned text. Next, ask the students to close their books or put away their papers. Explain that each person will receive an index card with a question or answer on it. Whatever the card says, another student in class has the answer or the question to it. Make sure you have an even number of students. If you have an odd number, ask one of the students to be the timekeeper, or take a card yourself.
At your signal, students are to walk around the room in search of their classmate who has the card that goes with theirs. They will need to ask questions of the other students. For instance, if the class just read an article on the space shuttle, a student's question might be, "Where does the shuttle dock when in space?" The student should know the answer - the International Space Station. Knowing the answer would make it easy to find the student with the answer; otherwise, he or she will have to ask the question of his or her classmates until someone is able to answer the question.
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Back to the Seats
With everyone back in their seats, continue the learning for the entire class by having
- students with questions read them out loud to the class, one at a time
- have them pick a classmate (not the one with the answer) to answer
- he student with the answer confirms if the classmate has answered correctly
When everyone has finished asking and answering the questions, have the students to take 15-20 minutes to write what they learned from the article, what they learned from the game as well as what confused, surprised or interested them. If there is time, have some students share their writing with the class.
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This came can be adapted by changing just a bit. Instead of looking for questions and answers, the students can search for
- pairs of characters that are connected (i.e. Romeo and Juliet, Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket)
- story titles and morals (i.e. Little Red Riding Hood - Don't talk to strangers. The Lion and the Mouse - No one is too weak to do good, and even the strongest of us can use the help of the smallest.)
- quotes and authors (i.e. "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." and President John F. Kennedy - Inaugural Address)
The point is to get students moving while scaffolding onto their reading in order to enhance their comprehension of the book, article or story.
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Providing a quiet activity, filling out an individual assessment form (KWHL rubric) or writing in a reflective journal, allows students to return to a frame of mind for quiet learning.
For this reading comprehension activity, assess students on their participation of the game, their ability to work well with their classmates and their ability to write coherently on the topic of the text they had just read.
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Some content from author's own experience.
English Online: Stirrers and Settlers for the Primary Classroom. Sue Clarke. 2011 - http://www.englishonline.org.cn/en/teachers/workshops/plan/teaching-activities/stirrers-settlers