Object Lessons – Helping Your Students to Really Get What You Teach!

Match those socks!!!!…..or…..Using Object Lessons to help kiddos remember what they learn!

Don’t you love it when you get to teach a really fun, engaging and memorable lesson to your students that turns on their light bulbs?  Me too!  That’s what makes teaching so much fun!  That’s why I love object lessons so much!  They always give kids a great, real “visual” for remembering the lesson.  My favorite book for object lessons is Tanny McGregor’s book “Comprehension Connections – Bridges to Strategic Reading.”  It really should be titled “Awesome, Fun, Amazing Lessons for Helping Students to Learn and Remember Your Lessons!”  I always try to use as many of her lessons and ideas in reading intervention groups as possible.  Last week, the fifth graders were working on Determining Importance.  Out came Tanny’s book when I was planning and away we went with the spaghetti and colander lesson! Yep, that’s right…..you pour spaghetti and water into a colander to show them that….well…you’ll just have to get the book and read it!  It is fabulous!  And let me tell you…those fifth graders now can explain what determining importance means and why it’s important!

This week I needed an object lesson for helping the kiddles really understand that evidence from the text must actually match what they are finding the evidence for.  It can’t kinda sorta maybe match….no….it has to match exactly!  So, inspired by Tanny’s teaching and after some brainstorming, the idea I came up with for this week’s lesson uses socks!  I just could not get some of my kiddos to find evidence that matched the question being asked.  They always beat around the bush, but never found evidence that exactly matched the question,  So several socks found their way into my book bag.  The socks were spread out on the table and the students were asked if they matched.  “No!” They all said loudly.  “Well why not?” I asked.  “After all…these two match because they are both black!”  “No, Mrs. Denning….they don’t match because one is for a man and one is for a lady!” “Aha!  Exactly!” I said.  They sorta match, but not really…not exactly!   We then had a wonderful discussion, using examples from the book they were reading, of text evidence that directly matched the questions being asked and evidence that only kinda sorta but not really…matched.  Just like the black socks.  Boy did they dig in to finding evidence after that.  Sometimes it just takes a great visual lesson to help the kiddles “see” what you are saying, right?  And being part of seeing your kiddles’ light bulbs go on…well that is just the best!  So Do Not Pass Go – Do Not Collect $200!  Rush to the bookstore or go online and get Tanny’s book!  You will love how object lessons liven up your teaching and your kiddles will love it too!

Happy Teaching Everyone!


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