Multi-Tasking Mania {creating activities that target multiple skills}

As I was going through my December bin of goodies I found this activity and couldn’t wait to do it again. This is one of those perfect activities that combine so many different goals that it feels like a small pillar of shining light has shined down on you from teacher heaven. And angels are singing. Yes angels. What can I say? I get excited by effective multi-tasking. So often I am trying to jam too many skills into one activity my poor kiddos don’t know whether to focus on the seasonal vocabulary, the counting task, or the fact that they have to use chopsticks to increase their fine motor skills while completing the task. Poor guys didn’t see it coming. This activities flows so well combining a bunch of common targets I have for my mid and higher level group. Check it out:

Integrated Lesson:  speech sounds, text connections, reading fluency, and behavior management

Phew! I am exhausted just writing that title! Did I grab your attention? I often get emails from teachers feel freaken overwhelmed by figuring out a way to incorporate everything our students need to work into one teeny tiny school day. And man – do I feel their pain!! My best (… and only) answer is to create and plan activities and lessons that incorporate multiple curriculum components. I am a big fan of vocational tasks that utilize math skills like addition, patterns, and multiplication; I love reading activities that also work on targeted speech sounds, making inferences, and social studies topics; and writing can be incorporated to just about anything. Multitasking is the name of the game and get ready to rock at it.

I snagged this freebie on TpT – Christmas Poem – Final L Consonant Blends and knew from the second I read the title that this was RIGHT up my alley. Not only was this seasonal and adorable – I could use this poem to work on loads of different skills!

It is a super cute poem that incorporates a bunch of final l consonant words. When we work on poems, I usually read the poem first and then we break it down a few and read it together in sections. We use a lot of repeated readings to focus on improving reading fluency. My students have been very successful using this approach with poems!

After we did our fluency practice, we switched gears to work on reading comprehension. I put the poem in a top loading sheet and we highlighted each part of the poem as wrote it on the board in our own words. This helped to focus on picking out all of the details and helped keep us organized.

We rewrote what happened in the poem in our own words. This helps to show me that my kids are actually understanding what they heard and read and not just regurgitating back exact quotes.

After working on comprehension, we switched gears again and had a discussion (which led into a writing activity) about the character in the poem’s behavior, what choices he should make to change his behavior, and what will happen to him if he continues to have bad behavior. These are definitely some higher level questions that utilizes more complex cognitive skills. Students need to make inferences about the consequences of behavior, make connections with their own life, and predict what will happen to the character. We talked about the times in our lives when we had bad behavior and how we made it better. This is good practice for my students to recognize the ‘bad’ behavior of others and helps generalize behavior management skills.

Little trick: for my kiddos with lower receptive language, I keep a dry erase board nearby so I can write the discussion questions I ask. This helps improve understanding of what question is being asked by providing a textual cue! This is a quick and effective intervention! I do this ALL THE TIME.

We also wrote out a lot of the conclusions we came to in our discussion.

My guys did super well! I was BEAMING! Right away one of my kiddos said, “he should say sorry.” Ugh – seems like a little milestone but this is a very challenging skill for my students. It went much easier than the Charlie Brown writing activity.  After our discussion we did some writing!

So who else feels my stretched-in-every-direction anxiety? Any other clever ideas on some multi-tasking activities?


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