I have several students who are answering a how question with a why response. Our students with language delays, autism, and 2nd language learners often have trouble with these skills. “How” and “Why” questions are question forms that require a higher level of thinking and language skills to formulate responses. The students often need the ability to problem solve or take on another perspective when answering them. When looking through the Language Arts section of the “Common Core Standards” I discovered this would be a skill they would need. Like many of you, I am rethinking what is most valuable to my students as we try to align curriculum with the “Common Core Standards”. I made task cards to specifically address how and why question forms from a given text.
Students may require some direct teaching on the differences between how and why questions. How question have a few variations. It may require a student to tell how something is done in steps, how something is done descriptively, the amount of something, or state of being such as with “How are you feeling?”. The answer may contain an adjective or adverb.
Answering why questions often involves finding the antecedent or cause of an event. The answer recalls facts that happened before an event. For example the question “Why did the dog dig a hole?” He dug a hole because he smelled a bone under the ground. Compare this to the how question. “How did he get the bone?” He dug a hole with his paws and grabbed it with his mouth.
Answers to how question often relate an action and possible steps. These response can seem to be quite similar to a student. For instance, look at these questions and answers. “Why did the lights go out in the storm?” or “ How did the electrical wires get knocked down in the storm?” The answers, “The electrical wire was knocked down in the storm because a branch hit it.” and “A strong wind blew a branch off the tree and it hit the electrical wire which was torn down.” They seem interchangeable except the because is used in response to the why question and how elicits a series of events. Our language learners will shorten their response to, “A branch fell off the tree”, for both questions.
The packet I am posting on Teachers Pay Teachers has 30, 3 inch by 3 inch cards with 3 questions on most cards. In the packer there are 4 cards that deal with how many questions and amounts. 26 cards deal with the variations of how and why listed above. There are 17 cards that also contain a question on vocabulary within the story context. This provides opportunity for students to derive word meanings from the text and verbalize it. You can find them here or by clicking on the picture button at the top of the page which takes you to TPT and also gives a preview.
I made a free trial packet for my readers. You can get it by clicking on the button.
There are 3 pages of cards for a total of 9. You can see if they are something of value for your students. I have been using them with my 3rd through 6th graders. I try to keep the picture cues meaningful and appropriate for middle school range. I have a lot of boys and they don’t tolerate things that look cute. I make them double sided so they have possible answers available. This helps when I have groups and it is motivating for them to flip them over and see if they got it right.
Teachers Pay Teachers is having their Back to School Sale on Aug 4th and 5th. If you are waiting for the right time to get back to school materials, now is the time. Don’t forget to use the Promo code when you check out to get the full discount.
In a previous post I mentioned how I worked with students to recognize comments and questions and how they should make a reply. I made comment and reply cards last Spring. I have since updated them to include pictures. I’m putting a trial set here for my readers to try out. If they look like something you could use, the full set is on Teachers Pay Teachers.
We are coming to the end of the year and it is time to see how much progress my students have made. I have been working on new irregular past tense verb cards. My commercial cards have pictures that don’t reflect the past event and also have the printed word below. I end up hiding the written word when doing post testing which is annoying. I also find that students do not always generalize to other contexts. I wanted an activity the students could use after they have memorized the verbs according to the usual prompts of what happened today and yesterday and would be a better indicator of what they know. I made the cards so the past tense would be elicited within the context of answering a question. The cards may also be used for interpreting questions that use the words before, after, during, and while and used for making predictions. I usually have students working on different goals in the same session. The answers are hidden. Students can use a QR reader to get an answer. I have a UV pen I bought at a school book fair that I use to write answers in the blue boxes. The students find it motivating to self check their answers.
I am posting 3 of the pages so you can try them out. You can download them by clicking on the button..
The complete set is at TPT which you can reach by clicking the button below.
The need for social skills groups continues to grow at the elementary school where I teach. We had enough students to form two groups this school year. One group is made primarily of second graders and the other fourth and fifth graders. The counselor and I teach these classes together.
We have used Leah Kuypers The Zones of Regulation® (www.zonesofregulation.com) and Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking® materials for our lesson planning. Recently we have worked on identifying emotions and how they fall into the 5 zones. For a brief overview, the Zones are 5 color coded signs that rank from the lowest blue zone of low alertness which relate to being calm, or tired to the red zone of heightened alertness which relates to feelings such as anger or fear. You can click on the web sites to obtain more explicit information.
These colors and zones can also be used when talking about the size of a problem. Students determine if a problem is at the lowest level which would be a glitch in our day or at the highest level a crisis difficult to correct. Other problems may fall somewhere in between. When compared with the zones of regulation students can see if the emotional reaction is appropriate to the problem. This also leads to talking about possible solutions.
When starting this unit, I found it difficult to find appropriate scenarios for the students to rate. They came up with a few on their own but typically do not think of the full range. you would be surprised at how much comes in as being a crisis. I created 26 cards with written scenarios. I added another four blank cards that if drawn the student would make up their own. The scenarios are ones that are common to students. I used Ned’s head for drawing out cards. Ned’s head is a good way to add humor to the situation and remind students that they may be thinking and seeing from one perspective inside their head. They can step out to see another perspective and problem solve. Here are a sample of the cards. You can down load them and test them out by clicking the button below.
You can reach the the full set by clicking the button below.
I decided to update the 3 Sentence Sequence Cards that are in the Expressive Language Section. This activity is for students who are able to make complex sentences from 2 given sentences and are ready for a little more difficult task. It requires the student to hold the meaning and sequence of 3 sentences in their memory and condense it into one complex sentence. This is a prerequisite skill for getting the main idea and useful for taking notes in class. I have used the task cards mainly with 5th and 6th graders so I tried to make pictures less childish. I also added a backside to the cards that provide example sentences. However, One of the sentences is not correct so students will need to decide which one it is and correct it. If your students are motivated by technology you can use the QR codes that are provided to check their answer. You can read a QR code with an app you down load on one of your electronic devices. There is an answer sheet if you are unable to do this. I’ve also thought of using my pen with the invisible ink to highlight the wrong answer. Because I appreciate the feedback I get from my blog readers, I am putting 8 free double-sided cards here so you may try them out.