Saturday, March 5, 2011

"I can..." Lesson

A while back my junior high first graders (7th graders) learned about "can" sentences.  To introduce the topic the teacher and I decided to use animals as examples.  I thought this was a pretty good idea because in the 6th grade textbook the kids are first introduced to "I can" with a penguin, a hippo, a flying fish, and a bird.  I mentioned it briefly here

So we went into class a little early and the teacher asked me to draw a few animals on the board.  It was at this point that I really thought about the animals I had to draw and realized that I had possibly never drawn a few of them before in my life. In class, I told the kids that this was "Amanda's zoo."  We asked them what each animal was before we went into the sentences, and thankfully they were able to identify all of them.

First up was a kangaroo.  I'm not sure I've ever drawn one of those before.  This was actually the last animal I drew, as I started from the bottom and the animal I was most familiar with, and worked my way up to the top.  But then I sort of ran out of room and the kangaroo had to be shortish.  And then as I drew him he was...fatish.  And his tail was kind of Tyrannosaurus like.  I was worried that the kids wouldn't be able to tell what it was so I added some jumpy lines.  But the kids were really cool about it.  I kept saying that it was bad, but one of the kids said, "I know it, I know!" which made me feel really good.  The sentence for the kangaroo was "I can jump."

Next up was a cheetah.  Again I'm not sure I've ever drawn a cheetah before.  So I went with the idea that a cheetah is just a big cat that runs fast.  So I drew it to kind look like it was running and then gave it a bunch of spots.  Again, I'm really not sure how cheetah like it came out, but the kids knew what it was, so success!  His sentence was, "I can run fast."

Third was a dolphin.  I know I've drawn dolphins before, but as far as I can remember they have always come out crazy deformed.  But this one came out surprisingly great!  I'm not really sure how that happened.  His sentences were, "I can swim.  I can jump."

And last, but first to be drawn, was a penguin.  Of course, I have plenty of practice drawing these little guys so it was no trouble at all to knock one out for this lesson.  His sentence was "I can swim."  The best part of the entire lesson was when I asked my students, "What's this?"  One of my super energetic students shouted out, "It's Amanda-sensei!"  Do my kids know my or what?

It's all pretty basic stuff, but it was a really fun way to introduce the topic to the kids before we tried to get them to think of their own sentences.  It was a great class, and provided some great little stories for me to share with you.