. Regurgitated Alpha Bits: I ‘Spect the Signs Ain’t Clear

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I ‘Spect the Signs Ain’t Clear

(In case you're new to this blog or a frequent flyer that doesn't hang on my every word, I have a very low class this year. Mostly sweet and well-intentioned, but L-O-W. I have 1, that's a one, that's the number just before two but thankfully after zero, that is a proficient reader. Did I mention that she can't add or subtract?)

So we have been studying word roots, and this week we focused on –sign and –spect.

We talked about the definitions of both word roots and generated a list of words containing them and discussed their definitions. I made sure that the words found on the practice book page we would be completing were on our list.

Our list included words such as inspect, respect, design, signature, signify, etc.

And then we attempted to complete the page…


with me feeding them answers like Lucille Ball working in a chocolate factory.

First, we read the directions which stated students were to fill in the blanks in sentences using the –sign and –spect words in the word bank.

I added to the directions by having the students circle the word roots in each word.

Next, we read each word and pretended to draw in the air while reading any word that had –sign as a root and pointed at our eyes with every –spect word.

Finally, I hauled in a dead horse and we beat it just for good measure.

We echo read the first sentence (I read, they read).

Me: I liked the creative (blank) drawn on the picture.

Students: I liked the cretif blank drawn on the picker.

Me: Alrighty! I see the word "drawn" in the sentence, so I can guess we need a root that has to do with drawing. Talk to your table groups and decide on a word that would make sense.

(Students discuss possible word choices)

Me: Anthony?

Anthony: Inspector!

Me: Nope. Good try though. That has –spect as it's root and that means "to look." Nikki?

Nikki: Spectator?

Me: Nope. Good try though. That's another –spect word. "To look," remember? We want the one that has to do with a sign or mark. Robert?

Robert: Spectacular!!

(I'm freaking out now because this is the best their little collective minds can muster.)

Me: Noooope. Boys and girls, what are the two roots we learned about?

Students: -spign and –sict

Me: That's right, -sign and –spect. I am going to give you a bigger hint. I want you to look at the words with the letters s-i-g-n in them. Work with your group to reread the sentence and put your finger on your word choice.

(Students reread and make new choices)

Me: Vanessa?

Vanessa: Spectacles?

Me: No… Ok, the word we are looking for starts with the letter D. Travis?

Travis: Dolphin.

Me: Dolphin? Really? How about you, Joe?

Joe: Spectacles?

Me: DESIGN! The word we are looking for is DESIGN. Put your finger on the word design in the word bank. THAT is the word we need. It starts with a D and has s-i-g-n in it. It is something that can be "drawn." All the SIGNS are there that it's the correct word (of course no one got that). Now write it on the blank. Let's save some time here, the answer to number two is "signify." Number three is…

Once we were just about out of answers, I let them participate again because there were so few chances to guess wrong, although they still did…

every time.

All the while, my poor student teacher is sweating bullets in the back of the room because she knows soon she'll be leading this little group of misfits.

Herding cats, I tell you. Herding cats.


Anonymous said...

Oh, this made me giggle! I've been trying to talk about the electoral college with my 5th graders, and it's been going about as well as this went for you. And my friends wonder why I sometimes come home and want a beer. At 3 o'clock.

Edna Lee said...

My advice to you is to stop waiting until you get home to have that beer!

Anonymous said...

If there is company in misery, I am there! I teach fourth grade and I to have a bunch of low cats. I also have a great number of super high. I am exhausted when I get home. Physically and mentally. I even get up in the night to jot down ways to help my students.
I have to agree with you.......test time is going to be sad this year. I am often to tired on Friday night to go out or drink and this is my 20th year in education.

I love how people throw out differentiation as the way to solve everything. If only it could be as easy as it sounds. LOL

The Bus Driver said...

Teacher. See Teacher. See Teacher Run. Run Teacher Run!

I can only imagine your frustration. Having subbed in the special needs classes, I was having difficulty helping (read teaching) these kids how to use a calculator to solve simple addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems. Of course the teacher who was SUPPOSED to be teaching played on his computer most of the period. Whee.

Maybe you need to get back to basics. Do some easier words with roots? Unfortunately children aren't amoeba.. though we wish they would simply absorb everything we tell them. You'd be surprised how much of a challenge "sit down" is especially on a school bus.

Edna Lee said...

We had been looking at word roots for weeks, starting with easier ones, in preparation for this one required lesson on -sign and -spect.

Despite individual student needs, all students need to be exposed to the same curriculum in my district...whether they are ready to understand it or not. It is crazy to expect fourth who are all second language learners and largely reading 2+ years below grade level to understand word roots. That 45 minutes would have been better spent on phonics or reading comprehension, but that is not up to me. The publisher of our Language Arts series gets to make that decision for my class evidently.

Melissa B. said...

I 'spect you've been given a sign that this will be a Most Difficult Year? BTW, it's time for our Silly Sunday Sweepstakes! Gotta good one for ya, so please come on over!

Anonymous said...

I am right down there with you. I am teaching ELL and discovering that these kids have been in the system since pre-kinder and are still in my program. They are having the same issues.
Where's the nearest beer store?

mystery Teacher

Anonymous said...

Great post, Ed. Amazing that you and I have the same challenges - you with third graders and me with 30-year old's hired to work in my company's Call Center. For example, on a recent essay exam I asked the following question: "If a franchisee calls with a question about the day-to-day operations of their business, to whom do you refer their call?"

The answer I was looking for was: "I would refer them to their Field Operations Manager."

Here's the answer I received from one 32-year old female participant: "As a part of the hardworking Call Center, handling calls is our strong factor to be in the elite core group of the company. If a franchisee calls with questions about its day-to-day running their business, as much as possible, we will or we should render them the quality service of helping them the way they want it to be with the best quality solutions that we can give or help them. Focusing on the problem and correct conduct of values in handling calls over a short period of time is probably the best way of showing them our entity of professionalism in hyandling customers in the business world."

Of course, the big difference between your third graders and my 30-somethings - mine can drive. Scary...

Edna Lee said...

Loquacious little sucker, wasn't she?

Anonymous said...

This afternoon I wrote in my plan book for next week to work on these two roots. We apparently have the same reading series as you do, only this year, to save money, the district took away the practice books. I was doing a google search to see what I mind find to help my lesson and your blog was the first hit. Very funny.