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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Context Clues

I think that, right along with teaching inference, teaching context clues is one of the most crucially important skills that we teach as educators.  It is also one of the more tricky skills that students are faced with, so I have always made it a point to have a lot of different ways to teach and practice context clues.    We have been working on it in class lately, and it's the main focus for us this quarter.

We started by discussing the different types of context clues that we often find.  We made an anchor chart to describe each of those types.  The spaces below the definitions are left for students to place their own examples using sticky notes.

Then, we talked about what to do if there weren't obviously any of those clues in the sentence or surrounding sentences.  We made another anchor chart.

Then, we used a passage from the book A Dog's Life to tap in to some authentic literature.  This activity showed the students that you can, indeed, use context clues in real books, not just in the sentences their teachers show them.  (You can print a copy of the document here)  This is a great small group lesson.

An example of how I show them to use context clues in the passage
I recently created a new project to help my students work on mastering their context clues skills!  I am so excited about this project because it gives students so many ways to look at context clues and is FUN!  They are basically going on a 7-stop trip around the world.  At each country they visit, they have some sort of conundrum that they must solve using their context clues.  At each stop along the way, they collect a little token, and when they've collected all of their tokens and glued them on to their postcard recording sheet, they are done!  It is the perfect way to round out our study!

I have several differentiated worksheets for teaching context clues that the kids then completed on their own.  To finish up, we practiced with task cards.  The kids enjoyed the task cards so much, I decided to create some for Thanksgiving and the Holidays coming up so that we can continue to reinforce this skill.  The task cards are available at my TpT Store.  We will be using them this week, so I will update the post with pictures of them in action!

Fall/Thanksgiving Context Clues Task Cards