Friday, December 12, 2014

Higher Order Questioning

With the introduction of the common core, questions have become much more complex. When answering Short response questions students have to make sure they are using a correct format to ensure they have answered the question correctly and with enough detail!

Adding enough detail to a short response question is where I notice my students struggle the most!  In order to get better they need to practice. I decided since it is the holiday season to start answering a question daily. I chose to base my questions on The Polar Express by Chris Van Allaburg. I know my 6th graders have heard this story many many times but I figured I could use that to help them succeed. 

For this activity I'm not really assessing their comprehension of the story. I am assessing whether they can analyze a question using evidence from a text. I created this graphic organizer for them to use to help map out their answer:

This allows my students to make sure they have all the information they need before finalizing their answer. 

You can download this product by clicking HERE!!!

Literacy Centers.. Effective strategies for older students

Hey all!! Hope you are all getting ready for the holidays. I just wanted to share some tips on using literacy centers in the upper grades. A few people have asked me how I am able to keep the centers going once the students get older!  

The first thing I do is organize my centers on one board:
I put the students into random groups and each day they are assigned a new center. Next to this board I keep bins with all the response pages in. The envelopes I have hanging hold different sorting or task cards they may need or any other needed materials (highlighters, paper clips). 

Every Monday I go through each center with the whole class so they know what to do. I also write the directions for each center on a dry erase board in case they forget. 

On this board I also put the objective of the center. 

Since I teach 6th grade the writing center activity usually takes them a week to complete. Whenever they finished their assigned center for the day they go onto writing. 

During this time I am pulling reading groups. If I pull their reading group and they miss a center they know that sometime during the week they will need to make up that center! 

It takes a lot of training in the beginning. I usually start in September and just have then do centers for a month before I start pulling groups. That way they really know what is expected of them during the reading group time.