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MYSTERY PICTURES

Author:  Miriam Furst, Kelland Elementary; Tuscon, AZ

Grade:  third, fourth, fifth (adaptable)

NE STANDARDS:

4.3.1 By the end of fourth grade, students will pose questions and contribute their own information or ideas in group discussions in order to acquire new knowledge.
4.3.2 By the end of fourth grade, students will make oral presentations that demonstrate appropriate consideration of audience, purpose, and information to be conveyed.
4.4.1 By the end of fourth grade, students will gain information or complete tasks by listening.

OBJECTIVES:

1.  Students will distinguish between words/phrases that help clarify communication and those that impede it.
2.  Students will practice giving clear oral directions and will see the results produced by students who follow their instructions.

MATERIALS:

Chalkboard, chalk, blank paper (6-7 per child, 8X11), dark makers (1 per child)

Answer Card-
draw the number 5 on a sheet of paper, following the instructions list in #5

"Mystery Picture" Cards-
5-10 cards with simple geometric design or a capital letter drawn on each card- make sure cards are thick enough so the drawings can't be seen from the other side.

PROCEDURES:

Anticipatory Set:

Discuss the importance of listening by conducting a simple brainstorming activity.  Have the students brainstorm all activities that require listening.  The result should bring importance.

Activities:

1.  Give 1 dark colored marker and 2 blank papers to each child.  Read the instructions below, aloud, pausing after each one.  Ask students to draw the "secret picture" on their paper, following the instructions as carefully as possible.
THEY MAY NOT ASK ANY QUESTIONS.  NO TEACHER HAND GESTURES ALLOWED.  KIDS MUST SIMPLY DRAW THEIR INTERPRETATION OF THE INSTRUCTIONS.

    Instructions
    a.  Draw a short line
    b.  draw another line touching the first line you drew.
    c.  put your pencil at the other end of the second line and draw a half a circle.

2.  After children are finished, post pictures on one half of the chalkboard.  Discuss the differences among the drawings on display.  Ask, "what questions did you want ot ask, as we were doing this activity?" (e.g. How long should the line be? Should the line be horizontal, vertical or diagonal? Should the lines be straight?)
DO NOT SHOW THE "REAL" PICTURE OR GIVE ANY HINTS.

3.  Ask, "What words or phrases could I have used to help you draw the picture more accurately?" Write suggestions on board.
DO NOT SHOW THE "REAL" PICTURE OR GIVE ANY HINTS.

4.  Thank student for their help in clarifying your language.  Ask them to try again.  Promise them that, you will use class time, you will use clearer language.

5.  Have students follow you instructions again.  This time read the following instructions.

    Instructions
    1.  starting in the middle of your paper, draw a horizontal line about 1 inch long.
    2.  place the point of you pencil on the place where the horizontal line begins , on the left.  From that point, draw a vertical
    line, the vertical line should be about 1 inch long.
    3.  Starting where the second line ends draw a backwards "C" going down.  The tips of the backwards C should be about 1
    inch apart.

6.  Have students display their second pictures on the other half of the board.  Show them your picture of the number 5.  (Most pictures should be similar)  Discuss why the second set of pictures are more alike than the first.

7.  Make lists of "muddy" and "clear" words/phrases on the board.

8.  Pass out 4-5 more sheets of paper, per child.  Have children take turns picking a "mystery picture" from the stack.  Being careful not to show the picture to the class, the child should give verbal directions for drawing the picture. The student reading instructions MAY NOT say letter names or geometric shapes.  Class follows directions, without asking questions.

9.  Place pictures on board and compare with "real" picture.  Discuss the direction giver's use of clear language.  (positive discussion)  Refer to and add to the "Muddy" and "Clear" charts on the board.

10.  Variation:  Have the direction giver give directions 2 separate times first time: not questions allowed, second time: questions allowed from class.  Compare results.

CLOSURE:

Discuss possible results of unclear communication.  Students could write skits in which the same event is shown twice- once with "muddy" language and once with "clear" language.

ASSESSMENT:  Students will be graded on effort.  Students must demonstrate the characteristics of active learning.  Students will be given feedback about their consideration of others during the discussions, and do evaluations of others listening and speaking skills.

References: http://www.col-ed.org/cur/lang/lang46.txt

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