Teaching students the parts of speech can be a challenge at times. Let’s face it, these days, we as educators have to find new ways to keep our students focused, engaged, and learning. One of the many reasons I love The Walking Classroom is that I am often able to use it as a “closure” for a lesson.
Lately, my students and I have been working on writing a variety of sentences and improving our sentences too. Prepositions (Program 5 – #21) is a great way to review and to get students into using prepositional phrases in writing.
We began our class with the Walking Classroom lesson on prepositions. Afterward, I decided to do our wrap up in a different way. When we got back, instead of our normal report out, I instructed our student assistant to give each student a sheet of notebook paper. My students’ body language immediately changed. I knew they thought they were about to have a quiz.
I then asked my students to neatly write a sentence that used a prepositional phrase. Some students asked if they could use one from the podcast, and I said yes. I told the students that once the sentence was written, they should stand quietly at their desk. Curious looks were shot around the room.
I love coming up with quick and practical ways like this to formatively assess my students. Once I had all students standing, I instructed the students to ball up their pieces of notebook paper. You could have literally heard a pin drop in my room. I have 25 fifth graders, so you can imagine … that is never the case!
Next, I told the students we were going to have a SNOWBALL fight (using the balled up piece of paper with their sentence written on it). Their faces immediately beamed with excitement, and they squealed! The rules were simple:
1. Do not aim at faces.
2. Only throw the “snowball” once.
3. Once you have thrown your “snowball,” cautiously and quickly grab another “snowball” and go back to your desk.
4. Open the “snowball” and read the sentence.
My students reported out by reading the sentence they had at their desk. Because no names were written on the papers, students were able to comfortably share and we offered some suggestions on how to improve the sentence or different prepositions to use. My students seemed very confident with prepositions! I projected The Walking Classroom quiz as our exit slip. Students answered the questions orally and then we discussed. This was a great review before our big test on prepositions the next day!
5th grade teacher
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