Students enter the classroom knowing we're going to begin a new topic since we took a post test yesterday. They immediately take out their Interactive Student Notebooks and prepare to take a pretest.
Today's pretest if over cause and effect. In choosing the items for this pretest, I had to think about what I really want students to know. I do want them to understand the cause and effect relationship but it was also important for my students to be able to draw cause and effect relationships from a piece of text.
After students complete the pretest, I will have them complete their left side interactive notebook activity.
When the pretests are finished, I gather the assessments and take a quick look through them. One advantage of having lots of teaching experience is that student mistakes can be anticipated. As I had predicted, the students could successfully match the causes and effects. They weren't as successful in filling in the real life cause and effect examples and were even less successful identifying the cause and effect relationships from the text.
We begin this part of the lesson by just talking about the words cause and effect. It takes many many examples here to help them begin to understand that the difference. I hand out the two foldables for the day. My students were so excited about the clip art on them- it was the cutest thing!! Anyway, students are instructed to cut each image out around the outside and then fold the black line back creating a flap. They then glued the flap on- the rain cloud on the top and the umbrella on the bottom leaving space between for writing.
Under the rain cloud, I had students write the work cause and under the umbrella, I had them write the word effect. I then had students life the cause flap and write this phrase, "Because it started raining". We stopped there for a second and I had students turn to their shoulder partner and tell them an effect for that cause. There were many answers- some correct and some incorrect. I wanted to hear as many responses as possible to get an idea of who was understanding it and who wasn't. We narrowed the answers down to the correct ones and I had students write, "We had to use our umbrellas."
After the left side activity is completed, I have the students put away their notebooks and prepare for a mix pair share (Kagan and Kagan, 2009). They stand behind their chairs and mix while the music plays. When the students are nice and mixed, I stop the music and they freeze and partner up with the nearest person.
I tell the students that the person with the longest hair should go first. The partner with the longest hair is going to give the partner with the shortest hair an effect- anything that happened. The partner with the shortest hair is responsible for giving a cause for the given effect. We then share out and repeat with another mix pair share.
The two rounds of mix pair share acted as the exit ticket for the day- even though the students didn't know they were being assessed!!
I know everyone is dedicated to time on task as I think we all should be but sometimes I think people forget that these 4th graders are just little kids. The notion that coloring is too old for 4th grade is one that I rebuke. My students REALLY wanted to color their clip art flaps. I decided to let them for two reasons: 1.) They really are little kids and still like to color and
2.) This Interactive Student Notebook is THEIRS. It is their tool to refer back to- to love, honor and cherish as I say in class. It is in my best interest and theirs if I let them spend five minutes coloring their flaps. It increases the buy in and ownership of their notebook. Things kids value they take care of- hopefully!!
After all is said and done, I believe in coloring- not the all day, coloring sheets kind of coloring, but the meaningful, student- driven kind of coloring that still lets them be the little kids they are!!