Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Getting Our Fun On...

I just wanted to follow up on the activities I am doing with my quarters to review skills for the STAAR Reading exam next week.  As I've noted in previous posts, I have strayed a little from the test-prep norm to hold student interest as the days to the "test" tick down.

Each day, we read a chapter from The Hunger Games.  I can honestly say, my quarters are totally engaged.  We are having awesome conversations (better than I ever expected) about the text.  A quarter even mentioned how the book tells us so much more than the movie!  Yay!!!

On Monday, we reviewed  character traits using the FAST paper found here  and here .  Quarters talked about Katniss Everdeen.  They wrote about her feelings, actions, sayings, and thoughts in the text so far.  I asked them several question stems and assigned them "thinking" questions for homework.  Their answers were in paragraph form and a few of them did really well.

On Tuesday, we reviewed summarization.  This time, in addition to our plot anchor chart (found here ), quarters used the "Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then" to write their summary of the what has been read so far.  Since they work in collaborative groups, I was able to notice who really "got" it and who needed a little more support.  Again, they were assigned questions for homework.  When I read the answers aloud this morning, they were REALLY good.  A lot of quarters thought about what was happening, how they felt, and what they could say about the story.

Today, we reviewed main idea and details.  This was FUN!  We read our chapter and quarters built a "table" to represent the main idea.  The legs were the details.  Now, this is not a unique idea.  I have seen it on a blog, or Pinterest, ...I'm not sure where!!! I thought it was wonderful!!  If you know where the idea came from, please let me know! 

My quarters were sooooo proud of their work!!  When we were done, we came back together to discuss/compare our tables to what we might actually see on the STAAR test.  We completed an anchor chart to remind us!
I hope that if they see a bubble map on the STAAR test, they will remember this chart and their tables and make the connection.  I think they just might!!!

On another note, we have worked on poetry and finishing up our portfolios for writing.  Our district uses Lucy Calkins (sp???) as a curriculum resource.  While I've found it difficult, throughout the year, to teach her way, I have tried.  I haven't been a big fan, unfortunately.  It's the one thing I feel I struggle through.  That being said, I have found her poetry unit VERY helpful.  As I work with it, my quarters have really began to embrace poetry, especially free verse, and some of them even do poems at home, on their own, without being assigned!!! WOW!! 

Here is an anchor chart we use to remind us that "looking with a poet's eyes" means using visual language!

I'm very excited to finish this week, make some "goodies" for them this weekend, play games and review with a passage or two on Monday.  I just know that I have enjoyed "teaching" this week!

Here is a quote that is spot on!!

"Teach me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand."--Chinese Proverb




  1. What a great idea! I love it! I'm working on main idea with my Extended Day kids. I'm stealing this for this afternoon. Thanks for sharing! I still have to read the Hunger Games. I just can't seem to find the time (mainly because I know I won't be able to put it down). I love the review strategies! We luckily have until the middle of May for our first kids are NOT ready! :( I'm stealing your ideas though...keep 'em coming!! :)