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.
Motor Mouth is simply an engaging strategy for students to review important vocabulary. This can be used in any class at any grade level. Did I mention that this is also fun?
I’ve included the PowerPoint with directions and a template that is ready to modify for your own use.
Click here for the Powerpoint!
Another one completed!
Click here to get the pdf. Don’t forget to run this on one sheet of paper for a one-pager (front and back) content card.
There are so many times we can help students learn to read for meaning – and using an advanced organizer is just one simple strategy we can use.
Here’s one way to use the technique, with a reading from the Chile mine rescue.
Download the activity which includes directions, the advanced organizer, and the reading.
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.
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.
Our younger students learn about parallel lines in different grade levels in different states. But there is some key content that students need to know related to parallel lines. This content card provides key content. (If you see other things that need to be added, please leave a comment and I’ll update this. All of my content cards are a work in progress.) DOWNLOAD THE CONTENT CARD FOR PARALLEL. I’ve included a piece that is not in most elementary programs – and that is how to write a math sentence that shows two lines are parallel.
Remember that in curriculum development world, we still need to work on things students must be able to do with this content at the elementary school level. Do we want students to identify parallel lines in everyday things? Do we want students to distinguish between a parallel line and a perpendicular line? What about explaining what a parallel line is? What about explaining why a line that is not parallel isn’t? Do we want students to explain the difference between parallel lines and intersecting lines? These kinds of things become objectives in your curriculum.
For those of you in charge of developing curriculum, there are a couple of questions you’ll want to answer: What core content do you want at each grade level in relation to this concept? What do you want students to do with the content at each grade level? By the way, content cards are a good way to check vertical and horizontal alignment in a curriculum at the district level.
If your role is that of designing assessments, the content cards are a big plus as well. When everyone works from the same core content – and the same objectives, you support tight alignment at the classroom level – which is where alignment really happens.