My brother has been in Russia for two years serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Missions for the church last two years. Since he has finished his two years my family came to Russia to pick him up (Yes, I am writing this post from Russia and yes, that is why it has been a while). Thus far we have had a great trip! We have seen a lot and enjoyed spending time together as a family! You can't go to Russia with out seeing (and buying) a matroyshka. As we were walking through the markets looking at hundreds of matroyshkas set up I couldn't help but think "How could I use one of these in my classroom?" My classroom has a travel theme so naturally I could just have one in my classroom as decoration, but I wanted to use it beyond that. I came up with the idea of using it to teach a lesson on details. If you have or can get your hands on a Matroyshka here is how it goes:
Start by showing the class just the smallest doll. Ask them to tell you one thing about it. When one student has given you a word that describes the doll put it in a sentence.
After that bring out the next doll. Cover the small one. Tell students that since there are now two dolls they need to tell you two things about the doll. Help the students to put the two ideas together into a complete sentence.
Bring out the third doll, cover the first and second with it and tell the students that since there are now three dolls they have to tell you three things about the doll. When you have three ideas from the students help them to put the ideas into a sentence.
Follow the same pattern with the fourth and fifth doll. Ask the students if they were to be given these dolls would they rather have just the smallest doll or all 5 together? (you can even have them give a thumbs up for one and a thumbs down for the other in order to get a quick response from them) Talk about how this can relate to writing. If I am reading about Spongebob I would rather you tell me 5 things about him than just one. If I am reading about the new bicycle you just got I would rather read five things about it than just one. Talk about what the benefits are to our reader if we add details and why it might be important for us to be descriptive in our writing.
I plan on leaving my Matroyshka in the room after the lesson so that I can refer back to it throughout the year if students are not providing enough details in their writing.
I hope that everyone is enjoying the last little bit of summer!
Much love from Russia!