Strategies for Empowering Students


Purpose

  • To help students' comprehension skills
  • To encourage students to use higher-order thinking skills
  • To promote students' use of their knowledge and inference skills
  • To help students learn how to construct meaning
  • To help students learn correct grammar usage in the context of writing and reading
Focus

  • Use of knowledge and experiences
  • Use of inference skills
  • Enhance comprehension skills
  • Use of correct grammar in writing and speaking
Integration of Content/Subject Areas

  • Reading
  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies
  • Science
Strategy/Activity

Students will read the sample statements provided. Using their knowledge and experiences, they will determine an appropriate word that will complete the sentence in a coherent manner.

After they have practiced completing the sample statements, place the students in teams and have each team develop five to ten statements that leave missing words. An "answer key" with the missing words for each will also be developed by the team.

Each team will then exchange statements with another and determine what the missing words are. The teacher will have the answer key to check correct responses. The answers do not have to be the exact words in the answer key but must make sense in the context of the sentence. The sentence must have a subject and a verb, the correct tense of the verb, and subject-verb agreement. Correct spelling of words is also essential.
The team that completes the statements first and correctly will win the honor of being "best team for the day."

This activity can also be extended by the teacher to include such other content areas as science, mathematics, social studies, and geography. For example, if the class has been involved in science lessons about plants and how they grow, you may give them the following sentences to complete:

Plants need ______, ________, _______ in order to grow and stay alive.

Some plants can live and grow without _____________.

________ grows only in _________________.

Example

Sentence: The man ________ the little boy fall.

Possible correct answers: saw, made

The man saw the little boy fall.
The man made the little boy fall.

Incorrect answers: was, laugh, walk

The man was the little boy fall.
The man laugh the little boy fall.
The man walk the little boy fall.

Other incorrect answers would be the incorrect tense of the verbs saw and made.

Sample sentences
Can you _________ me find my blue socks?

My _________ came to visit last summer, I hope _______ will come back soon.

Did you know that ____________ have wings?

______________ do experiments to find out how or why something happens.

The capital city of our state is _____________________.

The leader of our city is the _____________________.

The leader of our state is the _____________________

The leader of our country is the _____________________.

The tallest building in our city is the ____________________.

Chin Lee had one hundred and seventy-five dollars. He went downtown shopping and spent $96. He came home with ____________ left.

Assessment

  • How did students demonstrate their ability to complete the sentences?

  • How did students exhibit an improvement in their writing skills?

  • Were students able to construct their own meaning? How was this demonstrated?

  • How did students exhibit the use of higher-order thinking skills?
 



Credits

Excerpted from Beyond Rhetoric and Rainbows: A Journey to the Place Where Learning Lives ©1996 University of Illinois Extension.