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.
I’ve been working on collecting ideas for content-area literacy. I began with the reading standards for science, grades 9-10 from the Common Core State Standards.
Download a pdf version of the 28-page document and see if there’s an idea or two you can use.
Informational Literacy Standards for Science – FRESH LINK, Updated September 27, 2011.
Informational Literacy Standards for Science, Updated 09.19.2011
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!
This is another sort that I designed when I put together the Content Card for Counting (Kindergarten Level). In this activity, students practice using sentences that have a number. DOWNLOAD THIS ACTIVITY and your students will soon be making sentences.
Corresponding Content Card – Counting 1, 2, 3.
This is a sort in which students count to answer “how many” questions with up to ten things. This is for Kindergarten and goes with my Content Cards for Counting. DOWNLOAD THIS ACTIVITY for a tool that willl help students sort pictures as well as their corresponding numbers and number words.
Corresponding Content Card – Counting 1, 2, 3.
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.
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.