My students like to talk and for many of them, it is their most effective means of communication. Knowing this, we put those skills to work this past week in my grade ten applied English class.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you will know that my class has been focusing on their summary writing skills and here is what Thursday’s lesson entailed:

-in partners, the students found an article that interested both of them from one of their two Zite accounts on the iPads
-after reading it, the students recorded their discussion which included what they believed the main idea and supporting details were and their reasoning as to why they chose those particular details (they had their choice of recording video or just voice into the iPad)
-once they were finished, they left the article up on one iPad and the recording up on the other and traded places with another pair from the class
-they then listened or watched the discussion and recorded on a piece of paper what the original pairing had determined the main idea and supporting ideas to be
-when they finished recording the ideas, the students read the original article to analyze whether they believed the initial pairing had accurately identified the main idea and supporting details
-when both groups were finished analyzing each other’s discussions, they formed a group of four and discussed the summaries

It took most of our 75 minute class to complete this task, but most of the students worked really hard and the results were pretty strong! Many of the groups accurately identified the main ideas and supporting details in their verbal analysis so hopefully these skills will transfer to their written work.

What I think was the best outcome, however, is that many of the students told me it was a fun activity and that it didn’t feel like work. Fun, learning and OSSLT prep- not bad for a Thursday afternoon in February.

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