Thursday, January 31, 2013

Grading Comprehension Questions

So I see about 100 kids each day for Reading.  There are three groups, reading three different books.  Every week they are assigned chapters from those books and about 6 comprehension questions to go with them.  They answer those comprehension questions in their Reading Response Notebooks.  If you do the math, this is how many comprehension questions I would be grading each week...

100 kids X 6 comprehension questions = 600 short answer questions every week

I don't know about you, but I just don't have the time for that.  So here is one way I manage it.  First, make yourself some of those "ticket out the door" posters.  I have 5 or 6 for each group because each poster is for one question.
Mine are getting a little faded as they have been up all year.

Then, I put the kids into groups of 2 or 3, depending on how many kids you have this would vary.  Each group gets a number.  That number is where they put their answer on the poster.  For example, if they were group #1, their answer will always go in the #1 boxes.

Each group also gets their own sticky note color.  This is more for fun and to help my eyes when looking over them.  You could just do it with plain old yellow stickies if you wanted.  Each group gets a sticky note for each question (5 questions = 5 sticky notes).

After they discuss all of their answers, they write them on the sticky note and place them in the boxes.  I can then quickly look over all of their answers for each comprehension question.

If a group has a wrong answer, I simply move the sticky note down below the board.  If they see their color sticky below the board, they know their group needs to fix an answer.  If they still have all 5 sticky notes up, their group gets 100% on the assignment.

Sticky Note Comprehension for The Hobbit

SO MUCH FASTER than grading each one separately!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Note Taking Flip Tabs- Chinese Achievements

Our Social Studies book organizes each civilization pretty much the same.  For every civilization there is a section about their achievements.  Sometimes the same old graphic organizer doesn't have the space they need, and outlining takes up a lot of room.  The students and I came up with these simple rectangles.  They get cut out, folded and after their notes are taken, glued down.  And all within one page of their notebooks.  On the outside, they draw a picture (of course), then on the inside, they write down bullet points.

These were our notes for Ancient Chinese Achievements.  To save time and my sanity, I just create a table in Microsoft Word with two columns.  The kids cut them out as they go.  Just one more way to keep the same old topic a little more interesting!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Ancient Greece - Vases

I had so much stuff for Greece to share that I had to break it up into parts.  It is one of my favorites to teach.  After we learn about mythology, we do a quick little project that the students really enjoy.

The very first thing we do is take notes on the three main types of the Grecian vases in our interactive notebooks.  We also practice traditional looking borders that can be used on their vases.
Greek Vases - Notebook Notes
First, each student gets a Greek myth.  I copy several copies of a bunch that I like to use.  You could have them do research on their own to find one too.  I ask my students to write a summary for the myth that they read.  These are written in their notebooks.  Then, everyone gets a rubric that looks like this:
Greek Vase Rubric
If you would like one, just download it here.  We do our vases in class so part of my rubric includes a worktime grade.

Narcissus Vase
Daedalus and Icarus Vase
 I show the kids how to cut out the vase shape symmetrically (think Valentine's hearts) and how to separate the vase into borders and sections.  They are to draw a picture of the myth that they studied into the main part of their vase.  All of their work is typically done first in pencil, then they trace it in black marker.  Here are the results of a few from this year...
Golden Touch Vase
 It is a really fun project and I hope you get to try it out the next time you teach Ancient Greece!  If you have any questions let me know.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Tuck Everlasting Book Unit is HERE!

Hello Everyone,

I have posted a lot of fun stuff here to go along with reading Tuck Everlasting in the classroom.  I start my book units with a good foundation of comprehension questions, vocabulary, and quizzes and tests, but the things I do to make the reading easier, more enriching, or more interactive are the activities that I post here on my site.  Although I have read this book with over 230 students in my time at 6th grade, I have never taught it the same way twice.  I do keep the basics the same, and that way I can always modify my ideas or experiment with new things each time.  I would suggest starting with a book unit, that way you can get to the fun stuff too!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Ancient Greece - Interactive Notebooks

Ancient Greece is definitely a favorite with the kids.  They especially love the time we spend on Mythology.  Here are a few highlights from our notebooks for Greece...
     Map - we always start with Geography so the first thing we do together is map out the location.
Map of Ancient Greece
     Greek Mythology and Literature - we start out with the basics using this organizer.
Greek Mythology and Literature Graphic Organizer
     Greek Gods and Goddesses - our textbook is a little sparse when it comes to this, so I use the cards from Winged Sandals and my own Notebook presentation.
Greek Gods and Goddesses
You can get the cards on the Winged Sandals Website.  For the characters that the site does not have cards for, I have the kids draw their own.  Click here if you would like the Notebook slideshow. It usually takes two days to cut out the cards, and take all of the notes in our notebooks.  We also do our computer lab activity with Winged Sandals.  Please see my post here if you would like to read more about that.

     Sparta vs. Athens - sorting facts.
Sparta vs. Athens
I went through the chapter in our textbook and randomly listed facts.  The kids need to go through the chapter and determine which facts are about Athens and which facts are for Sparta.  Then, they create a t-chart, cut out the facts, and sort them on the correct side.  This particular student wrote an 'A' or a 'S' on each fact first, then cut them out to paste into their chart.

Please stay tuned for more Ancient Greece posts...