Saturday, May 12, 2012

Valentine's Activity: Hearts Everywhere

If you are in any way similar to me in how you plan lessons for activities you've seen online, you need some time to read about the idea, think about how you would use it with your group, prepare your materials and then implement it. One of the teacher's on my team this year says he likes to let concepts have a chance to "marinate." We've all adopted his lingo. We like to let kids have the chance to have repeated exposure to concepts, but sometimes we also need some marinating time for ourselves.

In an effort to give everyone some time to "marinate" the following ideas, I'm sending them out early (or really late considering I took the pictures last February!)

For my pre-schoolers that I've had in the past, this lesson focused on the positional concept "on" as well as identification of common objects.

I started with the interactive book, "Hearts Everywhere", from the Jefferson Parish AAC link. I would read the book to my class using the felt board and laminated hearts. On each page, the students would take turns placing the heart "on" the object identified in the book.

After introducing the book and the vocabulary, the next day before the children came in the classroom, my assistant and I placed construction paper hearts all over the classroom. During circle time, I would call a few students at a time to go "look for a red heart" and bring it back to the carpet. When they brought their heart back, I would ask them where they found their heart. Once they answered the question, we would place it on our chart and I would call the next group of children to go look.

TIP: If you are working with pre-school age children, be sure to write on the heart the location that you placed it. For example, "on the fish tank." When you have several children looking at the same time, it's easy to miss who picked one up from specific locations. If you don't have several children looking at the same time, the waiting period gets to be too long for little ones. And if you have students at levels similar to the students I have taught, when you ask the question, "Where was your heart?" you will inevitable get the answer "over there" a few times. You want to be sure you can accurately prompt them to answer the question using the positional word "on" and the correct common object where it was.

I love activities that get students actively engaged. These types of scavenger hunts always produce smiles, laughter and excitement.

Because of that I'm trying to think of a way I can adapt the activity to be appropriate for my current third graders.

I think I will connect it to our writer's workshop lessons. We have been working on using more descriptive phrases in our paragraphs. I am going to place many hearts all over the room with their labels. Have the students put their heads down with their eyes closed and give each student 10 or 15 seconds (one at a time) to go get a heart from somewhere in the room. After they collect their hearts, they will describe where they found the heart, but they are not allowed to name the object. Then they will read their paragraphs to their classmates who will need to guess where the heart was originally.

I'll have to let you know how it goes! I'd love to see other ideas on how to use a scavenger hunt type activity to support academic goals for older students. Please post your ideas in the comments section.