Mind Drifting?

by: Tim Mello
Education Faculty – Dover
Delaware Technical Community College

When was the last time you finished reading a passage and realized you didn’t remember anything you read because your mind was drifting?  The good news is we always assign our students relevant, interesting, and exciting readings; therefore, their minds never drift.  They never think about lunch, last night’s reality show or the funny smell in the room.  They are always focused on the topic being read.  Aren’t they?  Most of us have been in this situation where we did not remember the page we just read.

To help students remember information presented in an article about television’s effects on development, for example, I use the following active and collaborative activity.  The activity can be done with any article.

Preparation:  Enlarge the font of the article, place spaces between the sentences and cut the sentences into strips.  Place the sentence strips in an envelope.  Make enough sets for each group of 3-4 students to have one. 

Activity:  Give each group of students an envelope with the article inside.  The students will read the sentence strips and place the strips in the correct sequence.  For most articles, correctly sequencing the sentences is not as important as reading, analyzing and discussing each sentence to see how each fits with the other sentences. The process of sequencing encourages discussion about the topic.  As the students are collaborating, walk around and provide positive and encouraging feedback as necessary.  Guide students as needed.

The complete passage will be shown on the projector allowing groups to assess their work.  More discussion will follow as they re-sequence the sentences. A group discussion on the topic as a review wraps up the activity. 

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