Word cloud using inferences
Since the idea of showing my students the short and long term effects of an unhealthy diet on their mind and bodies dug deeply into my thoughts, I really began trying to begin my project with an impactful demonstration that would awaken my students’ curiosity and inspire in them a desire to learn more about the topic. Instead of trying to lecture them about the importance of eating healthy food, or demonstrating the food pyramid, or explaining good eating habits, I came up with the idea of showing them a series of photographs in a power-point presentation that illustrates the consequences of eating unhealthy foods, and how such a diet is conducive to different diseases.
Since I am teaching “inferences” for the following two weeks in my Language Arts class, and since they already learned that inference is an educated guess based on evidence in the text , in this case based on the photographs and a reader’s prior knowledge gained from it , I decided to integrate my project into my lesson by having them make an inference based on the photographs. I chose the most grotesque and deforming photographs to make an impression on them .
My method was not to use use captions because I wanted them to focus on the actions and transformations of the bodies exclusively from the photographs. My students were talking for a couple days about how disgusting the photographs were . I wanted them to draw with inferences based on the photographs provided.
During the week, students had time to discuss questions such as :
1- What do you think about the photographs?
2- What are the connections between the photographs?
3- What do the photographs have in common?
4- What do you think is happening to the people in the photographs?
5- Have you ever seen people like the one in the photographs?
Later in the week, my students completed a graphic organizer where they had to describe the photographs, what they knew, and the inferences based on the connections they made.
Since my students are very visual, I used “Word it Out” to make a word cloud of all their inferences, to show them what the photographs they had found have in common. (At this point, I haven’t told them anything about unhealthy diet or the names of the different diseases). After this, my students wanted to know more about the topic, which is exactly what I wanted; to encourage them to learn more.
I assigned an article called “ Food for Life” from Achieve-3000 program, where they can read at their own lexile reading level to have them start thinking about the problem. They were able to listen to, look out for vocabulary, answer questions and change their initial vote after completing all the activities. I know I haven’t included math or science into the project yet. However, because my students have special needs, I need to scaffold their learning little by little to the point that they understand how nutrition works, the effects of their diet, and ask more questions that will lead them to find more answers.