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Thursday, December 20, 2012

HANDS-ON ACTIVITIES TURN ABSTRACT INTO CONCRETE IN GEOMETRY CLASS

Long-term English language learners often times struggle with language intensive geometry.  Trying to interact with the heavy textbooks frequently leads to ELLs just sitting passively in the hopes of not being noticed by the teacher.  The fear of having one's weaknesses exposed for all the class to see can be quite intimidating. 

What if teachers took a slightly different approach with easily accessible "intro" materials" at the start of the lesson?  This type of approach allows every student to feel a connection with the upcoming material.  It validates that every student has some experience related to the topic though of varying degrees.  This sets the students up to believe that they will experience success in tackling the topic of the day in geometry class.

In GEOMETRY LESSON, the teacher has some simple materials to start the lesson on quadrilaterals--simple pieces of construction paper, scissors, and pens.  For the kinesthetic learner, cutting the corners and putting them together to discover the properties of quadrilaterals leads to the student's grasping (and therefore remembering) the concept.  ELLs need such approaches as well to fully comprehend the complex content of the subject.  Further, as the teacher has students go through the properties of the quadrilaterals, he maps them out on the white board as students discuss their findings.  The type of mind map presents the complex in a simple format that students can easily copy and most importantly, refer to if they encounter difficulties in completing the assignment.

Though it takes time to generate support materials, it is will worth the effort.  After all, what better feeling could a teacher have than knowing that s/he successfully reached every student in class:)

Denise

ELL TEACHER PROS

Pacon Riverside Recycled Construction Paper, 76 lb., 12 x 18, Holiday (Google Affiliate Ad)
Westcott 8" Straight KleenEarth Recycled Scissors with Microban (Google Affiliate Ad)

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