The readings this week focused on teaching students strategies on working with similarities and differences. According to Dean et al. (2012), “There are four strategies in the identifying similarities and differences category: comparing, classifying, creating metaphors, and creating analogies” (Kindle Version pg.1945). Along with the four strategies there are also three recommendations: teach students a variety of ways to identify similarities and differences, guide students as they engage in the process, and provide supporting cues to help students identify similarities and differences.
In doing some self-reflection this week I was able to positively answer parts of the reflection prompts. I say ‘parts’ because I did not use metaphors or analogies last year and therefore had to answer no to part of the prompts.
- Do I provide explicit instruction related to comparing, classifying, creating metaphors, and creating analogies?
With this prompt I am able to say that I do provide explicit instruction related to comparing and classifying. I often use Venn diagrams with my students, before having them use the Venn diagram I teach them the different elements of the organizer and how to best utilize it. “ Students can use graphic organizers as a visual tool to help them make comparisons. The most common is the Venn diagram, which uses two or more intersecting circles to show how items are similar and different” (pg. 246).
One area that I can improve in is by implementing more metaphors and analogies. We did not use this strategy due to the high number of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Students with ASD have a difficult time grasping concepts that are not direct and concrete. Even though I will have students with ASD next year, I may try using metaphors and analogies with my other students.