Sunday, March 23, 2014

Peek At My Week Linky

I wish I had something really REALLY exciting on the books for this week, but we are in test prep frenzy this week.  Our ELA is April 1, 2, and 3 (really, NY?  On April Fools Day?  Seriously?).  I plan to (re) teach text organization and then we will spend Thursday and Friday dissecting test passages.  Thrilling, right?

I have to say, my kids are doing an amazing job justifying their choices and eliminations on the multiple choice sections.

Justifying  - students cross out parts of the choice that makes the entire choice incorrect.  Students make quick notes in the margins about why the choices are incorrect and why their choice is correct.

This week, we are going to focus on time management.  In my classroom, time is the enemy of close reading.  My students are coding the text as they read, they draw lines to designate sections, they dissect the questions by boxing words that are important, they make notes in the margins about the choices....and all of this takes time.  This week, I am going to insist that they move from making notes to talking themselves through the choices in their heads.  I hate to scare them, but *I'm* scared that they won't finish the test in time.  I think the best course of action is to apply all of the strategies we've been using, but make some of these processes a mental process.

Six school days until the ELA. How about you?  Are you in the midst of testing season?

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Spark Student Motivation Saturdays: Using a Document Reader to Share Student Work

Hi all!  I'm linking up with Head over Heels for Teaching to share a way I kept my kiddos motivated this week.

We got a new toy: a document reader!

And I let my kids play with it immediately!  My students love coming to the SMARTboard to show their work for math, but sometimes that technology really slows us down.  Often the screen needs to be calibrated, or they don't leave themselves enough room to show all of their work. Another big time zapper is the work itself is sometimes so complex that I lose the attention of the room while one student shows the rest the solution.

Before we started math on Friday, I told my kids that they could use the document reader to show their work during the review portion of our workshop...but they'd need to have neat work,with all of the steps shown. To their credit, work they completed was detailed and organized!  Take a look at their work for reducing fractions:

While this student showed her I spotted an error on a subsequent problem, so I was able to fix that while she was explaining her work.

I love how neat this work is!  All of the calculations are shown and it's so easy to follow!

Lots to praise here as well.  This young lady leaves little check marks, showing that she's paying attention to the work presented by her classmates.

I am so in love with this new toy.  It is going to make it so much easier for kids to share their work with each other, for use to discuss text or to dissect text books!

Tell me, do you have a document reader?  How do you use it?