Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Teaching Opposites... and a FREEBIE!

Hi, Teaching Friends!

How do you teach your students about opposites? Some of our little guys seem to come to the understanding of them very easily. But others struggle until one day you can practically see the light go on for them. The problem, as I'm sure you know, is that everybody's light switch has been installed in a different place- the trick is to find it!

It's hard to define "opposite" without using examples, so in our class we'd find lots and lots of them, and practice them in as many ways as we could.  For the active learners ( and, seriously, in first grade, who isn't one??), we'd be up on our feet acting them out.  Reach up high to put the cookies on the "top" shelf, bend down low for "bottom".  Sit up on your desk for "on", jump down for "off". Run in place for "go", freeze for "stop". Bing! A few light bulbs just lit up!

Some kids learn and remember so well with music. I guess I must be somewhat of a musical learner, too, because I sure do love to be a musical teacher! :)  So we'd sing a song to the tune of "Do You Know the Muffin Man?". I've tried to find the source - I'm thinking it might have been a Nellie Edge resource, but I haven't been able to find it at her site.  The "stick in your memory" lines are "Do you know the opposites? The meanings aren't the same". They're followed by a list of examples. Very cute! And Bing! Bing! A few more lights would go on.

Visual learners like using anchor charts, so we always made two of them on chart paper: a word list with opposing arrows  (sort of like this <----> ) between each pair of words, and also a picture chart. For that one, I'd mark off  6-8 boxes and we'd put pairs of words with stick figure illustrations for each. Nothing fancy, but it did get the bulbs lit for some more of the kiddos!

Ultimately, no matter how they acquired the concept, they all needed some extra practice, so we'd use some games in centers and small groups. Games are really the key to motivating practice, don't you think? Learning while you're having fun - can't beat it!

I just uploaded a set of games about opposites at my TPT store. There are 42 word cards, 2 board games, and a read around the room activity. The Cyber Sale ends tonight, so like everything else in my store, it's 20% off, plus 10% more with the code CMT12, which makes it $2.52!

Here's a little freebie from the set. Your students can work with partners, with one reading the word in the first column and the other reading its opposite, then reversing roles. If you challenge them to read quickly, your kids will get very giggly but also get in some fluency practice! Click on the picture to get your copy!

Do you have any special ways of teaching your students opposites? Please share! Thanks!

Happy Teaching!

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