Today I took out my Monsters Make Sense-: Topic Maintenance Activity and found my old witch's cauldron that I once got on sale at CVS years ago. I have several 6th grade students with pragmatic skill goals. I thought it may be too easy for them but I took it to a few new levels! (To check out my previous post about this activity click here!)
I placed the topics on the table around the cauldron and put the cards in the cauldron. Before we began, we discussed the following terms:
- main idea
We put examples of each on my large dry erase board (sorry no pictures!). Then each student selected a card from the cauldron and determined which topic it went with best. We discussed “key words” in each to help us!
Once all the cards were sorted, I asked the students to see if they find the pattern. One student who actually had an inferring goal (and a bit higher socially) noticed that each pile had the same 4 monster cards. I had her explain what she realized to the others. It was a great confidence booster for her!
Then I gave each pile to a student. I took 2. I modeled how to put the cards in order to make a conversation. I showed them my sign about how to start conversations and we discussed that it is usually a great idea to start with a question. I gave them that hint that for each of their piles, the conversation will start with a question.
I was so impressed with how they did on this task!! They were so proud of themselves too! As a follow up, we practiced asking and answering questions. We sat in a circle (I have a circle table so this was easy). I started with a topic. The student next to me had to ask the student to their left a question about my topic. That student had to listen to the question and answer it to the student to their left. That student had to take that student's statement and ask a question related to the person to their left. We kept going around and around until we got sick of the topic and then I changed it!
Ok, so you are probably wondering, how did I teach them to ask the questions. I made a list of question words on my dry erase board (who, what, where, when, why, how). I taught them through models and prompting to take one word from the sentence and turn it into a question. For example, I gave them the sentence “I like ice cream.” They had to realize that “ice cream” is the main word. We discussed what questions can we ask about ice cream. What might you want to know about my liking of ice cream? What don't you know yet? We had TONS of practice asking questions before we played this circle game. This group LOVED this game!! I had to kick them out when time ran out!
I hope you can use this idea to help teach asking and answering questions and to keep the conversation going!