Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Post #20 - Thanks & Organizing Paragraphs

So, first, thanks for the responses on the last Q&A. I am fairly certain that whatever happens, we don't have to convince our school board of using a block schedule; we just have to convince them that their proposed modified block schedule is cRaZycake. I wrote them a letter last week - my husband helped me maintain brevity - in which I think I established the benefits of a 4x4 schedule especially in that teachers have fewer students.

If anyone reading this IS on some kind of modified block schedule where you don't have your planning period every day, please tell me it will be okay?

OK, back to business.

Our state test is coming up soon, so we're reviewing big time. The skills on the test are all 8th grade level, so I apologize if this is too simple for other high school teachers.

Paragraph Organization Activity*
*Unfortunately I don't have a cute name for this activity. Feel free to offer ideas!

: To synthesize a paragraph in a logical order and identify its structural organization.
Materials: Previously cut-up & labeled (via baggies or envelopes) paragraphs (about 6-7 total), brief explanatory .ppt

*quick notes: disregard the first two slides of my powerpoint, and student instructions for the activity are the last few slides. My students are in a competition, so they earned "points" towards their championship games. Give out rewards as you see fit :)

How long does this take? In about 20-25 minutes my honors students got through 3-4 paragraphs. Last year in my non-honors classes, they made it through 2-3.

0. You have already gone through the Organization Paragraphs Handout and made enough copies of each paragraph for 6-7 groups. I recommend laminating the sheets before cutting, if you can. Put them in labelled envelopes.
1. Using the Powerpoint, briefly go over the types of paragraph organization. If you have middle school students, you might need to go more in-depth. This is really just a very brief overview that assumes they've already heard about these ideas in some capacity.
2. Students should take notes during the presentation that they can use during the activity.
3. Use the slides on the presentation to explain the game.
4. Students get into groups - teacher passes out first envelope.
5. Get to it! Students will open first envelope and take out sentences. They must put the sentences in the correct order and then identify which organizational structure (from their notes) it reflects.
6. When they get it right, they can move on to the next paragraph.

Use your discretion in allowing paragraphs that aren't EXACTLY what you have. Some of these paragraphs are a little more fluid (#5, for example) whereas others like #1 have only one answer.

And just 'cuz I like you, here's a little something extra: Paragraph Organization extra practice
There are 3 pages to this Word Document:
1. Page 1 - a passage I pieced together from TruTV.com & Wikipedia and made up questions for
2. Page 2 - a passage I borrowed from TruTV.com for an activity like the one outlined above. This one is a little different in that you give them three sentences AFTER they put it together and they have to insert those three sentences logically into the paragraph.
3. Page 3 - my answer key & notes

Give 'em those links again, Bob!
Organization Paragraphs Handout
Paragraph Organization extra practice

source: Me(activity), TruTV.com & Wikipedia for serial killer passages. If you know where those turtle paragraphs originate, please let me know. I got them from a professor in college who was showing us different reading techniques (before/during/after activities), and I am pretty sure they're not her originals.

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