February 19

Revamping my Summary Assignments

I am Shaking up the way I have my scholars summarize information. 

This MONTH’S #BLOGAMONTH TOPIC is a challenge to ‘do things differently.’

“Change a constant.”

Whether this is taking your class outside, putting music on, removing desks, unplugging your tech lesson, going paperless…etc, lets break the routine and reflect.

I decided to shake things up and do away with requiring summaries from my Scholars. I will instead be focusing on Gist statements, Blackout Poems, and Student Generated Questions. We do need to check on their understanding but as you read your 30th rendition of

  • First, this happened
  • Then, this happened
  • So then, this happened

It gets old and hard to deal with. They hated writing it and after picking up the 31st paper, I am apt to declare, “Nope not interested at all. No thanks. Don’t want to read anymore.” But what I can deal with is a quick check that requires my Scholars to summarize the text in 25 words. Okay yes, I know I used the dirty s@@#$%^ word but the number of required words in the summary gives it an interesting twist.

“Whoa! Wait!?!? What?!?! 25 words?!?!” – their response.

“Yes, 25 words. No more. No less. Exactly 25 words.” – my response.

Not only have I just decreased the number of words that I have to read but I have drastically increased the rigor. It takes some serious critical thinking to reduce a passage into a prescribed number of words. Gist Statements are just one way to rid your Scholars of the dreaded, boring, standard summary assignment.

Gist Statements

  • Objective:  Accurately paraphrase sentences, keeping original meaning, and changing the structure of the sentence if necessary
  • Learning experience: Learners will read and locate/synthesize information and create a summary of 20-25 words.
  • Student product:  Brief summary passage
  • Rationale: This strategy helps students identify the most important ideas in a text, put those ideas into their own words, and then make connections between among these important ideas.

BlackOut poem

  • Objective: Read closely to determine the main idea or purpose of a text and eliminating all other words. Blackout poetry is a page of text that has been partially blacked out – colored over with a permanent marker so that the only visible text provides insight into the text as a whole.
  • Learning experience: Learners will read, locate information of interest and highlight sections of a chosen text.
  • Student product: Text based poem that can be shared and displayed.
  • Rationale: Creating BlackOut Poetry is an effective strategy to promote active and critical reading skills by requiring students to read the text and identify points of interest. These points of interest can either be teacher directed or student driven.

Student Generated Questions

  • Objective: analyze and synthesize a text and compose possible test questions.
  • Learning experience: Learners will read and locate/synthesize information to create questions.
  • Student product:  Discussion and/or multiple choice questions.to be used for a test, Kahoot game or a round of Quiz-Quiz-Trade.
  • Rationale:  Creating questions help students gain a deeper understanding of the text. It requires students to find textual evidence to support their question/answer choices. This activity requires students to explore concepts from the assigned text.

Can you revamp your summary game by using Gist statements, Blackout Poems, and Student Generated Questions? Try these activities out and I guarantee you that your Scholars will thank you.

(That’s not really true.) 

Condensing text drives many of them crazy and the responsibility of creating possible test questions scares many but at least it is not the same, boring assignment and you can get the necessary feedback that you need.

September 3

YES, you can create memes and gifs for class

You use interactive notebooks, Socratic Seminars, Kagan Strategies, online testing, flashcards, foldables, and everything including the kitchen sink to make sure that your students have mastered the skills identified on the daily agenda.Now it’s time to let them create something. They have done the hard work of reading, re-reading, annotating, defending, and explaining War and Peace, Metamorphosis, and Wuthering Heights. Now what? You need them to prove to you that they recognize the themes, characterization methods, and other literary elements in the text.

Do they really have to write a 500-word essay? Really??

Can’t they do something else to show their mastery of the content?  Something fun??? (imagine that in a preteen or teenaged whiny voice)

Of course, they don’t need to publish 500 words – although it would be a smart move to have them write a response so that you can get the data you need. Have them publish relevant images instead. Students can easily create memes and gifs that depict main idea, mood, theme, characterization, etc.

What are they studying?

Madame Curie’s contributions. Have them show the effect these contributions have had on our lives

Barrack Obama’s presidency. Your scholars find a picture and insert talk / thought bubble text.

Math formulas. Your mini-mathematicians can create memes that highlight formulas.

wordswag_1473111668896-2ncuxoh.png

Memes allow you to add commentary to images and gifs allow you to display several images that play automatically.

 

Before letting them loose, be sure to give them directions. What do you want them to display? Their knowledge of …. main ideas, emotions, patterns, themes, historical observations, etc.

We use the https://imgflip.com site because this site works at school. There are many free meme and gif makers but this one gets through our filters. The site has a large selection of pictures to choose from for meme making. A student could easily create memes and then turn them into gifs to share the collection.

Memes and gifs can be used to introduce and support material and students can create them to display their knowledge.  These links are for short how-to videos that show how easy it is to create memes and gifs.
Imgflig allows you to change the font type and color to allow you to personalize the images.

Creating_GIFs

What_do_you_want_to_create_

Try making memes and gifs for your class. Once I started creating them, I have not stopped yet. It is slightly addictive and you will find yourself making them for everything. C’mon… try them.

They’re fun and easy to make and share.

July 10

Creating social media posts

 

creating social media posts large

The four categories of focus for a RAFT include:

  • Role of the Writer: Who are you as the writer? A movie star? The President? A plant?
  • Audience: To whom are you writing? A senator?  Yourself? A company?
  • Format: In what format are you writing? A diary entry? A newspaper?  A love letter?
  • Topic: What are you writing about?

Discuss with students the importance of considering each element — role, audience, format, and topic — before they begin writing. For example, taking on the wrong role can dramatically affect the response. If a student is supposed to write from the point of view of a flighty teen, but writes instead from the point of view of the strict mother, their RAFT writing would not be accurate because it came from the wrong point of view.

Instead sharing the usual boring biographical research results for a famous historian or scientists, have students imagine what would be on their phone. Have them step into the shoes of their research topic and identify some of the apps, games, pictures, text messages and emails that would be found on his/her phone.

THEIR phone

Think about how well they need to know a character to be able to build a social media profile and posts. Either have them recreate a phone, create a social media profile and posts or just have them to identify the following:

1. Screen Name:They should be creative and use what they know about the character. Have them try to think outside the box.

2. Avatar: Their avatar should be an image or photo that represents the text’s character / author / ?? .

3. Quote: Twitter and Facebook users can identify or pin a favorite quote, song lyric or personal sound byte.

4. Playlist: Consider what songs might be on their phone.

5. Contacts: What people would be on their friends list: they can use real people, historical people, or fictional characters.

 

July 10

creating videos

creating videos lrg

Before your students can tell their story, they need to outline it so that they can identify the key points. Provide them with a Plot Diagram Tool or storyboard so that they can record the events and establish their place in the narrative structure.

There is no need to outline the entire story at first. Make sure that they have recorded enough details to ensure that they have relayed the most important facts, events actions.

When they complete their planning diagrams and outlines, they should begin the work of composing their scripts by identifying the events and actions that are important to their dramatization.

Common Core State Standards alignment:

CCSS.ELA-Reading.1
Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

CCSS.ELA-Reading.2
Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

CCSS.ELA-Reading.3
Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

CCSS.ELA-Reading.4
Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.

CCSS.ELA-Reading.5
Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.

CCSS.ELA-Reading.7
Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.1

CCSS.ELA-Reading.8
Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

CCSS.ELA-Writing.3
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.

CCSS.ELA- Writing.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-Writing.7
Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

CCSS.ELA-Writing.8
Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.

CCSS.ELA-Speaking and Listening.1
Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

July 10

Creating engaging summaries

creating engaging summaries gif

Summarizing requires students to determine what is important in the text. Paraphrasing requires them to translate the text into their own words. Manipulating the text helps students remember what they read because it requires them to:

  • Identify or generate main ideas
  • Connect the main or central ideas
  • Eliminate unnecessary information
July 10

Creating Interactive Images

creating interactive imagesAfter students read text have them create memes or gifs regarding the themes, characters, main ideas, concepts, etc.  They use critical thinking skills to find ways to create the parodies/associations.

Here are some How To slides to help you and your students create artifacts.

Students can create memes or gifs in any of their classes. It’s not just limited to English class.

Math or Science

  • Highlight an important inventor, mathematician or scientist and publish a quote or relevant biographical information.
  • Demonstrate measurement, angle, and percentage concepts.
  • Create a riddle or question for a mathematician or scientist.
  • Summarize the main idea of a text over a snapshot of a book’s cover.

Social Studies

  • Illustrate a region’s strengths, weaknesses, geographical markers, etc.
  • Highlight an important historian and publish a quote or relevant biographical information.
  • Promote political figures.
  • Debate controversial issues

Create a slideshow, assign students slides and have them to paste their memes on their slides.

Many CCSS anchor standards are addressed when students create interactive images.

CCSS.ELA.Reading.1
Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA.Reading.2
Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
CCSS.ELA.Reading.4
Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
CCSS.ELA.Reading.7
Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words
CCSS.ELA.Writing.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
CCSS.ELA.Writing.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CCSS.ELA.Writing.5
Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
CCSS.ELA.Writing.7
Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
CCSS.ELA.Writing.8
Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
CCSS.ELA.SpeakListen.1
Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
CCSS.ELA.SpeakListen.2
Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
CCSS.ELA.SpeakListen.3
Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

CCSS.ELA.SpeakListen.4
Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA.SpeakListen.5
Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.

CCSS.ELA.Language.5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
CCSS.ELA.Language.6
Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening
August 22

Monster Mystery

As we begin this schoolyear, I decided that one of their first writing assignments would be to compose a descriptive paragraph. NO descriptive writing is NOT something that is tested but…… as a Professional Educator, I decided that having them focus on “showing” was an effective way to start of the year.

Their mission was to decorate a figure from the selection of Go Noodle coloring sheets and write a description that is accurate enough that someone reading it could recreate their monster.

Some of them did better job of accurately describing their monsters than others and it was obvious when we compared the original monster to the recreated one. Those students who received skimpy descriptions immediately expressed their frustration about not being able to effectively recreate the monsters. I reminded them that the purpose of the assignment was to show how important it is to use words wisely.PhotoGrid_1439520912949I am glad that I gave them that assignment. It ws a great way for them to realize that when describing something that they need to be accurate and succinct.

 

March 21

Responding with memes

Thanks to my summer ventures into self driven PD, I had an opportunity to play with memes. I realized that I was hooked when I was saving my 20th meme.

I wanted to duplicate this engagement in a class assignment for my kids. They have been asked to create memes for 3 assignments.

1st – after reading an article about school curriculum and listening to Sir Ken Robinson discussing how School Kills Creativity, I wanted them to create pro-school memes

2nd – as part of our Rhetoric Unit I asked for memes that can be used to help me explain ethos, pathos, and logos to future classes

3rd – as a response to our study of “A Lesson Before Dying”

Some were great and Some were mediocre. They had fun completing this assignment and I had fun looking at their creations.

January 22

ThingLink

 

I signed up for an Educator’s account on the Thinglink.com website and I haven’t had time to play. I just created my first one, this vocabulary list for my class.

 

On the ThingLink site there is one for a MLK contest that I love and want to remember when want to create and publish …..  

January 3

Annotating and GISTing – Literacy Strategies

When working with text, we need to find Literacy strategies that require our students to do more than read and recite facts. We need to get them to connect with the text and go beyond recalling details.

 

These slides are a part of a presentation that I created for the 2013 Louisiana Council of Teachers of English Conference.

 

 

 

 

December 7

Creating Poems from Artwork

I showed my students two pictures and asked them to create poetry based on their impression of the who, what, when, where, why and how of the image.

 

June 26

Breaking down poetry into its smallest pieces

Common Core this…

Common Core that….

Increase rigor…

Raise the bar…..

I have been bombarded by the following terms and many more (Student Learning Target, Professional Growth Plan, Formal Observation, Informal Observation, etc.) for the past two years and I am trying to use my wits and resources to find ways to make this happen to the satisfaction of my evaluators, students, parents and lastly, myself.

I am creating a standard operating manual when dealing with text be it poetry, nonfiction or prose.  Below are the questions that I need my students to be able to answer and discuss as they analyze poetry.

Examining POETRY

Whether these questions are answered as a whole class discussion, small group activity or an individual assignment, these questions can function as a framework to be used as a trigger to get my students to examine the language, images and theme of assigned poems.

  1. Who is the speaker in the poem? Who is the audience?
  2. What is the setting of the poem?
  3. What is the author’s purpose in creating the poem?
  4. Identify the poem’s theme in a single sentence.
  5. Identify and explain the poem’s tone.
  6. Identify and explain all allusions found within the poem. Do they share a common/contrasting idea?
  7. Describe the structure of the poem? What is the meter and form?
  8. Note the metaphors, similes and personification in the poem. Discuss their effects.
  9. Discuss examples of paradox, overstatement or understatement that might occur in the poem.
  10. Explain the significance of any sound repetition (alliteration, assonance, rhyme, rhythm.)
  11. Are the poem’s structure and content related?
  12. What is the tone of the poem? How is it achieved?
  13. Discuss the diction used in the poem.
  14. Identify and explain significance of images within the poem.
  15. Identify and explain significance of symbols used within the poem.

I want us to get into the habit of reading poetry and mapping it by marking it up and identifying the answers to the above questions. Talking to the text, or mapping the text, is the only way to get my students to get more involved in the poetry so that they can create in depth (or partially deep) analyses of the poems we read.  Below is a picture of what I want them to do with our poems.

Example of Marking up a poem

Before we begin our poetry study, I do need to be sure that they are familiar with poetry vocabulary. We can begin with

PoetryTERMS

and end with a much, much longer list of poetic terms.  My current plan is not so different from what I have been doing in the past but I want to be sure that the consistency is there so that they always think about the questions (at least some of them) when asked to analyze poetry.

→Nothing new, just refined and revamped←