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STRATEGIES FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS

BEVERLY PHELPS

Dr. Martin EDUC 420

Identifying similarities and differences:


Comparing
The identification of important characteristics is the key to effective comparison. It is these characteristics that are then used as the basis to identify similarities and differences.

Classifying
The process of grouping things that are alike into categories on the basis of their characteristics.

Ex: Simple Machines and Complex Machines.

Identifying similarities and differences continued:


Creating Metaphors The two items in a metaphor are connected by an abstract or nonliteral relationship. Ex: Snow is a blanket. Creating Analogies Analogies helps us to see how seemingly dissimilar things are similar. They increase are understanding of new information. Ex: Shoe is to foot as tire is to wheel.

Activity #1 (Identifying Similarities and Differences)


Compare and Contrast the American Revolution and Vietnam Wars

Have students read the poems Christmas and Guerilla War orally. Discuss the meaning of various words and phrases to insure comprehension. Words to define in Christmas include Hessian, rebels, hamlets, barren, desertion, levy, exile, deformity, morrow, Trenton. Words to define in the poem Guerilla War include civilians, Vietcong, grenades, and satchel charges. Have students use the two readings and other sources to complete a comparison chart. Upon completing the chart the students should be able to make some generalizations about guerilla wars. Discuss the charts in class. Using the readings and other sources, explain how the Vietnam War compares to the American Revolution in terms of: combat conditions fighting tactics causes of war results of conflict Be prepared to defend your comparison with facts and specifics.

Summarizing and Note Taking:


Students must:

Determine what is important


Delete some information, substitute some information, and keep some information Be aware of the structure of the information Analyze the information a fairly deep level Notes should: Not be verbatim, but should also not be to brief Be considered a work in progress students continually add to and revise the notes Be used as study guides for tests

Summarizing and Note Taking: Continued:


1. Identify explicit structure. Help students identify how information is structured in different formats. For example, when they begin reading a play, make sure they understand the difference between scene descriptions, stage directions, and dialog. Use a newspaper to show them how news and opinion writing is structured differently. Examine a Web site together to make sure they understand which content is paid advertising. 2. Model good note taking. Model for your students how to take effective notes. Give them an outline of information you are going to cover in class, and have them use that as the starting point for their own notes. Show them that notes are living documents that change and evolve as the note-taker gains new understanding. 3. Frame summaries. Use framing questions to focus their attention on key concepts you want them to remember. To encourage students to synthesize ideas, give them a word limitation for summarizing information concisely. 4. Personalize. Encourage students to personalize their notes, using sketches, diagrams, color codes, idea webs, or other approaches that make sense to them. What matters most is that students make notes that are meaningful and useful to them. 5. Use notes as study aids. Have students compare and discuss their notes in small groups as a method for review and test preparation.

Activity # 2: (summarizing and note taking)


Students will select a topic for research. develop focus questions for their research. use a graphic organizer to collect and organize information. use their collected notes to write a research essay/paper.

Activity # 2: (Continued)
Student will use an editable graphic organizer template and a word processing program to fill out the template. (Or you can print the template for students to write on.) This note-taking template helps students collect and organize information related to a research topic. Note: For the purpose of this lesson, we chose the topic "Bats." You can use that topic; connect the activity to any topic in your curriculum; or have students choose a topic of special interest to them. The students' list of questions might include some of the following: How many different kinds of bats are there?, In what countries can bats be found? How big are the biggest bats? How do bats fly? How do bats see? Where can bat habitats be found? What do bats eat? How long do bats live? Which bats are endangered? Why?

Activity # 2: Continued
Students can select from their brainstormed list the three questions they are most interested in learning about, or you might assign one question to each student (so at least one student is researching each of the brainstormed questions) and let students choose the other two questions. The student then use a word processing program to type the three questions into the "Research Question" field on the Note-Taking Graphic Organizer. Next, students will use the library and or Internet resources to search for the information to answer the three questions on their charts. They identify three "Research Sources" and write the answers they find in those sources in the appropriate columns in the NoteTaking Graphic Organizer. The spaces on the graphic organizer are particularly small. That fact should encourage students to write notes (using key phrases and words) rather than entire sentences; that way, when they use their notes to write their reports they will have plenty of content and be more likely to write in their own words. When students complete their graphic organizers, they will write a report that includes a summary paragraph or two about each of the questions they researched. Save time for students to share the results of their research. Then fill in the L column on your KWL chart with the information students Learned about bats.

Nonlinguistic representations such as mental images, graphs, acting out content:


Nonlinguistic Representation is an imagery mode of representation. The imagery mode is expressed as mental pictures and physical sensations such as smell, taste, touch, kinesthetic association, and sound.

There are 6 patterns of Nonlinguistic Representation:


1 Descriptive Patterns-They can be used to represent facts about specific persons, places, things, and events. No particular order. 2. Time-Sequence Patterns-organize events in specific order 3. Process/Cause-Effect Patterns-a sequence of steps leading to a specific product 4. Episode Patterns-Organize information about specific events including: - a setting (time and place) - specific people - specific duration - specific sequence of events - particular cause and effect 5. Generalization/Principle Patterns-Organize information into general statements with supporting examples. 6. Concept Patterns-Organize information around a word or phrase that represents entire classes or categories of persons, places, things, and events.

Activity # 3: (nonlinguistic representations)


Students will use historical information from an exhibition to re-tell and write a story from the point of view of someone who lived in the past. Students will be able to: identify a particular time period and describe several of its characteristics describe what daily life was like during this time period re-tell and write a story about someone who lived during this time period

Activity #3 continued:
Have the students to use the online version of the National Museum of American Art's exhibition Metropolitan Lives: The Ashcan Artists and Their New York. This site contains images of paintings and historical documents that students can use along with the exhibition text to get a sense of what life was like in turn-of-the-century New York City. If computer space allows, have students browse independently through the exhibition and use one of its paintings or documents as a basis for their historical fiction. Have them ensure the factual integrity of their stories by studying the text and documents included in Metropolitan Lives as well as other online sources. If space prevents students from conducting research on their own, then download, print, and post some of the images from the exhibition with their accompanying text. Encourage students to consider the entire in-class "exhibition" before beginning their drafts. They might write about a figure in one of the paintings or create a story that includes two or more characters from different works of art. Make sure that students pay close attention to the accompanying exhibition script to ensure that their stories are historically correct.

COOPERATIVE LEARNING
Students Need: Interpersonal and small group skills communication, trust, leadership, decision making, and conflict resolution Individual and group accountability each of us has to contribute to the group achieving its goals Group Processing reflecting on how well the team is functioning and how to function even better Positive Interdependence a sense of sink or swim together Face-to-face promotive interaction helping each other learn, applauding success and efforts

Activity #4: (Cooperative Learning)


After an introduction to the five themes of geography, divide the class into five cooperative groups. Allow each group to choose one of the five themes of geography. After all the themes of geography have been selected. Hand out copies of old magazines to each group. Instruct the group that they are to search through the magazines for pictures that depict their theme of geography. After selecting the pictures for their theme, they are to glue the pictures to the poster board and make a collage. They are to write their theme at the top of the poster board. After all groups have finished their theme posters, a spokesperson is selected from each group. Each cooperative group will take turns having their spokesperson present their group's poster to the rest of the class, explaining why they chose the pictures that are on their poster and how the pictures relate to their theme.

Generating and Testing Hypothesis


Students need a variety of structured tasks to guide students through generating and testing hypotheses.

Systems analysis Problem solving Historical investigation Invention Decision making

Generating and Testing Hypothesis: Continued


Fine-tune your use of inquiry by focusing on how students generate and test hypotheses and predictions. Research suggests best practices for instruction: 1.Good questions make better hypotheses. Teach students how to frame a good question. Help them narrow their inquiry to a topic they can reasonably explore.

2.Ask for explanations. Encourage students to explain their hypotheses or predictions aloud. This will prompt them to explain their understanding of underlying concepts, giving you a window into their understanding.

3.Watch for (and mediate) misconceptions. If students are basing a prediction on a false premise or conceptual misunderstanding, set up activities to challenge their thinking.

4.Scaffold investigations. Structure their learning experience to maximize results. Provide them with a framework for investigating.

5.Use role play. Acting out characters (Hamlet) or agents (red blood cell) prompts students to make predictions. Based on what they know about their role, how will their character react? How will the agent interact with other agents?

6.Highlight patterns and connections. Help students recognize patterns in their findings. Show them how to transform raw data into graphs or other visual representations that will help them see patterns and make connections.

7.Use questioning strategies. Ask questions throughout the inquiry cyclewhen students are posing questions, while they are investigating, when they analyzing results or presenting conclusions. At each stage, challenge them to explain their reasoning and defend results.

Activity #5: (Generating and testing Hypothesis)


In this activity, students will develop an understanding of energy as it relates to body function. Students collect data about their own physical activities for a school day and a weekend day and then estimate the energy used in these activities. The students will then enter energy expenditure data from their diaries into a Web or a classroom database. The Web database contains entries from other students in their class as well as from students across the country. Using this information, students can test their own hypotheses about energy use in middle school students. Alternatively, students enter their data into a classroom database, which they then use to test their hypotheses about their classmates energy use. More questions can be asked and answered with the Web database than with the classroom database.

References:
http://classroom.leanderisd.org/webs/marzano/c ooperative_learning.htm http://www.netc.org/focus/strategies/gene.php http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/.htm

http://www.middleschool.net/resourcesmiddleschool-teachers.htm