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
December 31

Group Responses – way to TEACHtheTEST

How do we Teach the Test without really teaching the test?

Question for the ages! !!

How do we?  

I dunno????

What I feel intuitively as a Professional Educator is that

YES, our students will benefit from exposure to testing environments : timed (or untimed with focus), textual rigor, test format, etc.

NO, our students will not benefit from taking 1 test,  2 test,  3 test,  and more. That is NOT going to help our SCHOLARS.

YES, there is way to teach a / ‘The’ test without really TEACHING THE TEST.

H O W !!  You may ask (as do I by the way)

I know that if we stimulate our Scholars, they can read, comprehend and discuss complex texts.

They can.

They can do this if I allow them the opportunity to explore and analyze text in an unthreatening manner.

Hmmmmm….  What ? How?

I dunno. It is my goal that my Scholars will be able to read, relate, revise, present, dissect, remash, publish, discuss and  record the written, visuaL and oral texts that they will be examining.

Step one: How do we eliminate the threat of failure when we ask our Scholars to read and respond?

The only way that they can do any of this is if they feel comfortable enough to share and engage.

They often feel too uncomfortable to respond and if we are going to have a class that is student driven, their has to be student contribution.

Group Responses are often a way to lessen the threat of openly failing. Failing is a part of learning but it is more palpable to possibly fail in front of a few and not many.

image

Take a TEST (a cold read selection with multiple choice questions and a written response component) and have them complete an individual testing session before they get into learning communities to share answers and select the group’s Best Answer. Their Group Answer can be recorded on mini whiteboard, via Kahoot response, Google Doc,  worksheet, etc.

Playing Kahoot

Playing Kahoot

Object of the activity is to individually take test, discuss answers with others and then get immediate confirmation and feedback for answer choices.

Group response worksheet

Group response worksheet

Posted from Edublogs for Android as I sit and wait in COX CABLE!! 

More to come.

Will check back in soon. ♡♡♡

December 6

From marshmellows to Google viewfinders

 

 

We have had a long year and we have done some wonderful things. And some not so wonderful things. I am stoked that my application to Google Expeditions was accepted and I can’t wait for them to come.

 

I started off the schoolyear with my scholars developing classroom management rules by working together in a marshmallow challenge and I end the year taking a vacation with them to Brazil, India and Nigeria.

We are going places

PhotoGrid_1439518180751 PhotoGrid_1439517996959

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

August 15

Week One is Over

Today we will

Monday

  • Objectives: Get acquainted
  • Assignments: 1. Complete ‘Find Someone Who’ 2. Starburst Writing
  • Products: 1. Completed ‘Find Someone Who’ chart 2. Responses to Starburst Writing

Tuesday

  • Objectives: Highlight importance of being descriptive when writing
  • Assignments: 1.Respond to … I know. I feel. I believe  2.  Color ‘go noodle’ coloring sheet, describe it, exchange descriptions and try to recreate someone else’s monster.
  • Products: Original monster, description and recreated monster

Wednesday

  • Objectives: Getting to know one another
  • Assignments: Students will decorate a Mandala that represents some of their ideals
  • Products: Decorated Mandala

Thursday

  • Objectives: Team building
  • Assignments: Build the tallest and strongest structure possible using spaghetti, marshmallows, string and tape
  • Products: Final spaghetti structure

:

 

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.