Content Card – Details, Details, Details

Details and examples are one of those areas that students have struggled with when writing.  Being able to cite details and examples is a skill that is valuable in reading, writing, thinking, and speaking.  What are some of the things we might want to make sure students learn when we ask them to think about details and examples?  We might want them to know what kinds of things are details: facts, quotes, statistics, firgurative language, the information in a visual, sensory details, and more.  We also want students to know some of the things they can do with details:  compare and contrast ideas, support a point of view, oppose a point of view, make a decision, describe a character, make inferences, make prediections, and more.  As always, I’ve got a pdf copy for you – just print it out and share it with your students (and fellow educators).

Content Card, Details

Exit Slips

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.

Write About Data in Graphs – Elementary

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.

An Activity to Help Students Write Conclusions

Have you ever struggled with helping students write a good conclusion?  This is a simple and powerful activity I designed to help students understand the difference.  Download the pdf of the strategy, which includes directions, a template, and an answer sheet for this activity.  I designed this for the elementary level, but this is easily adapted to the secondary level by using more sophisticated examples.  The Hot Miss phrase is from Amy Hooper, a wonderful teacher at Axton Elementary in Virginia.

MEAP Constructed Response Reading

I designed this handout to provide some ideas related to the Reading constructed response items for the Fall 2009 MEAP test.  In this short piece, I share the item descriptors for the reading constructed response items in grades 3 through 8, examples of the kinds of questions we can ask students when they read, a link to helpful documents, and specific action steps you can take now in relation to helpings students think about the things they read.

Download the document and see if there are some ideas that will be useful to you.

MEAP Constructed Response – Examples of Scoring Guides

Examples of Prompts for Reading Constructed Response

Download this document to get a feel for what the constructed response prompts and scoring tools look like.  In the booklet you’ll find four examples of passages, examples of prompts for the passages, and examples of scoring tools that go with the prompts.  These are good to help you get the overall picture of the constructed response scoring rubrics.

Compare and Contrast – Roles of Government

Here is a lesson that supports the learning of comparing responsibilities between state and federal governments.  I’ve included a couple of things here:

A lesson in which students use manipulatives and a Venn Diagram planner to compare and contrast the responsibilities between the roles of the federal and state governments.

Additionally, a beginning list of analysis questions for the Venn diagram.  For those of you who know me, you know that I always recommend making sure that students have plenty of opportunities to talk about graphic organizers after they’ve developed them.

Western Expansion

Here are a few materials for I.8.b – Distinguish between economic and geographic factors.  Enjoy – and let me know if you recommend any changes to these!

The first activity is what I call a Wall Activity – and when you look at it, you’ll see why.  This is a good introduction to geographic and economic factors and their role in the Western Movement.

Download the fifteen-page document that includes page-sized pictures to use in the activity.

The second activity is a t-chart in which students distinguish between geographic and economic factors that supported the Western Expansion.

Download the activity here.

Unpacking the Compare and Contrast Standard for the New MEAP Writing Test

Comparing and contrasting are thinking skills.  It just so happens that in Fall 2010, the Michigan Department of Education will assess students in their ability to write a compare-and-contrast paragraph.  In my blog, I’ll be providing ideas that I hope will be useful to you.  I also hope that you’ll consider adding ideas.  If there is something you think we could post, just email it to me and I’ll take care of it.  Please visit my blog frequently – and tell your friends about it so they can visit it, too!

Here are THREE things for you to download today.

Unpacked MEAP Standards, Grade 3, ELA, HORIZONTAL FORMAT This is a twenty-two page document in which I’ve put a number of things.  I’ve unpacked the standard (ya-hoo); put together a list of core vocabulary words and descriptions for this standard; provided ideas for prompts; and created charts that show where the thinking skills of compare and contrast are already embedded in the Grade Level Content Expectations (GLCEs).

I designed these by content area (e.g, one for reading, writing, math, science, and social studies that show natural compare-and-contrast connections by grade level).  I also designed charts by grade levels, K-5.  If you want a 2nd grade teacher to quickly see how compare-and-contrast is addressed across the content areas in grade 2, these charts might be just perfect for your use.

I also designed a content card for compare and contrast.  Print this out; it’s ready to use!

Compare and Contrast, Apples to Oranges This is not a lesson, but I’ve included a number of ideas for your review, consideration, and use.  I’ve included some ideas for the prompt:  Compare and Contrast Apples and Oranges.

Compare and Contrast, Apples to Oranges in NOTES FORMAT Download this pdf file and you’ll see the powerpoint slides I created above in the Notes Format – with my notes on each slide.

Please tell me what you think!  All thoughts – the good, the bad, and the ugly – are welcome.