I am a fan of Kelly Gallagher’s Article of the Week. His website is loaded with weekly articles you can use to give students interesting topics to which they can write.
I recently read an article in Education Week and asked the author, Anothy Cody, for permission to turn his article, Color Coded High School ID Cards Sort Students by Test Performance, into an assignment for students.
I set up the assignment in a modified version of Article of the Week. I modified the directions and numbered each of the lines in the text. The numbered lines support students in citing the text during classroom discussions.
Download the assignment: Assignment: Argumentative Paper
The assignment includes a Writing Checklist, which you can download separately.
Exit slips are as tool to check for understanding and get a sense of where your kids are on just about any topic you want. They are so easy to implement.
I’ve written basic directions and examples for using exit slips in your classroom.
Don’t let this idea slip away!
Click here to download the three-page document for working with exit slips.
A quick-write is a literacy strategy that can be used in any content area. In this activity you give students a topic or let them choose one of their own and then give them five minutes or so to write quickly about the topic.
I’ve included brief directions for using Quick-Writes with your students and an example of how to have students fill in their writing logs.
Download the materials now and give the technique a try!
Writing is a tool for thinking and learning. It doesn’t matter what content area you teach, you’ll find many opportunities to help students think through writing.
This quick overview gives a couple of ideas for having students write about data from a line graph.
Download the overview sheet and examples of having elementary students write about data.
In this pdf, I’ve included examples of analysis questions for two different line graphs. Both of these are for the elementary level. For each set of questions, I’ve also included a large size of the graph that you can project and/or give students as they work to answer these questions.
Download the pdf of the Analysis Questions for a Line Graph.
Remember the Success Sequence: Draw, Talk, Write. Have the students use the visual and talk about the answers – preferably in a structured way as you call out the question. Then have students write about the graph.
Fractions, fractions, fractions. For so many students, these are quite the challenge to learn. One of the first things that adults should do when students struggle with an area of the curriculum is to make sure we’ve clarified the content that students are to learn. As you know, one of the ways to do this is through content cards.
Download a full-size pdf of the fraction content card.
As always, please let me know if there’s anything that should be added to the card.
One of the simplest things you can do to help students think deeply about visual material is to write analysis questions for the different types of visuals you use with students. This example is for bar graphs – and I’ve included two examples to give you an idea of how these questions might look. (I’ll be adding a whole series of analysis questions for different types of visuals, so be sure to check back often and/or subscribe to this blog.)
Overview Sheet – Analysis Questions, Bar Graphs
Analysis Questions, Bar Graph, Band Instrument Choices
Analysis Questions, Bar Graph, 3D Movies
After students talk about the information in the graphs, based on the guiding questions you provide, have them write a summary of what the graph says. You can make this a short and sweet summary that uses bullet statements or you can have students write a full paragraph. When you give students a chance to talk about the questions BEFORE having them write, they’ll do a much better job with the summary.
Use the graphs. Get students talking about the information in the graphs. Watch them develop deeper understanding because you guided them through deeper thinking of the material. And as always, don’t forget to add your own good questions. You may even want to add some here!
I want to share a piece I wrote a number of years ago. I love the rubrics designed by the fine folks at Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, but I wanted to unpack the rubrics. By unpacking the rubrics, I can get to data that allows me to see the specific parts of the problem-solving process in mathematics for which students need help. I hope you’ll read the article and add an idea or two to your assessment toolkit. Download the article here.
Download a copy of Northwest’s Mathematics Problem Solving Grid.
You’ve likely heard about using data to inform student achievement. You’ve also likely used assessment data from your state tests to try and do that. There are many ways to use data, including the kinds of data you collect in your classroom. This short piece describes how to use data from a rubric to form flexible groups for instruction. Download the pdf to learn more about how to use this data strategy.
You may also want to download a copy of the kindergarten rubric that is used in this strategy.
This three-page handout has an example of a developmental rubric that can be used in kindergarten.
Download the pdf of the kindergarten rubric and ideas for its use.
You may also want to see my post related to using the data from this rubric to form flexible groups.