Category Archives: General Teaching
Thanks to those of you who entered my little giveaway. Ten of you have won a 2 month subscription to indie flix. I hope that you find some great films to show your class before you finish up for the year, or get some ideas for next year.
The winners are:
As an added bonus, one of you also mentioned a fantastic site in your comment that I have since checked out and WILL USE FOR SURE next year. So, thank you to Vanessa for your awesome suggestion. When you have a few minutes, check out: Film English. It’s got short films, listed by appropriate grade level and have accompanying lesson plans. Just excellent!
I’ve been so lucky to find wonderful bloggers, teachers and writers who are willing to add their ideas to Lessons From The Middle. This post is by Laura, from 123Contact Form and she’s sharing some info on how you can use quizzes in your classroom. We all use them, but do you ever create online quizzes?
I don’t usually take guest posts from “companies” even if the rep was once a teacher. However, I see so much potential use for these online forms in my classroom and on my own blog. Also, because my students just started their own blogs, I see tons of potential for them to create their own forms, surveys or quizzes with the tool below. Uses in math, beginning of the year surveys…so many ideas! Take it away Laura!
When speaking of evergreen teaching methods, quizzes certainly own a place in the top list. I’ve yet to encounter a K-12 teacher who hasn’t ever used at least one quiz with her pupils. This post will discuss the magic of quizzes in creating a higher level of class engagement and why it’s useful (not only trendy) to make use of online tools for designing your own.
Education quizzes come in all shapes and sizes. Trivia quiz, revision quiz, thematic quiz – the possibilities are almost endless. Pre-made quiz templates you can find on the web are a great timesaver for teachers looking to create something useful and engaging. It’s important to caliber your quiz to be “smart”, as so to challenge pupils’ knowledge level while being fun and engaging. Quizzes can help gather instant feedback from students, by students and therefore increase the level of independence in the learning process.
Why use an online app for creating your quiz?
The web holds a couple of very good tools that will help you build an electronic quiz in just a few minutes, then pass it along to kids in the classroom. This way, pupils will also get used to filling in online tests, which is a great way of building their internet culture.
With an online app such as 123ContactForm, it’s easier to share your education quiz with all the pupils, without having to create hard copies of everything. Moreover, you will be able to track responses later and get a quick overview of all data within a single dashboard.
Smart quizzes in action
During my teaching years, I used to give quizzes most often as consolidation exercises, but they can also be a great evaluation tool over various curriculum expectation categories. It’s not about separating the wheat from the chaff, but rather to engage children in an educational activity that stimulates their interest in discovering new things. Also, quizzes help triggering the natural sense of competition that leads pupils to great results.
Here are a couple of use scenarios for quizzes that students absolutely love.
- He who knows, wins!
Students divide into three groups and the teacher chooses one group leader for each. Next, the teacher offers a trivia quiz that every group leader answers independently with the help of their team in a given time. The teams are ranked: first, second and third by percentage of correct answers. Each of the participants receives a symbolic prize – cards, tokens. This type of exercise encourages discussion and interaction in the classroom, helps participants mingle together and works well before doing other activities that involve team spirit such as sports.
- Intuition Quiz
The idea of this quiz comes from Marlene Caroselli’s “500 Creative Classroom Techniques for Teachers and Trainers” (pg. 331) and works best for upper grade middle school students. It’s great for stimulating pupils to take decisions on the run and cultivate their “intuitive powers”. You can use questions such as “How many different vocal sounds can a cat make?” (100+) “How about a dog?” (10) “What is the lifespan of a dragonfly?” (24 h) Provide a range in which you believe the correct answer will fall. Pupils can be categorized as having intuitive powers if they can “guesstimate” the answer with some degrees of precision.
- Jigsaw Technique
This is a great method of learning by teaching. The class divides into groups of 5-6 students, with the most responsible of them as a team leader. Each student of the group receives a certain topic to learn (same combination for all the groups) and he should only have access to his own material. All students take a quiz before everything starts, to test their level of knowledge. Next, they form expert groups, when students of the same specialty exchange viewpoints over what they’ve learned. After that, the jigsaw recomposes and students take turns presenting their topic to their group mates. There is a final quiz to view the level of achievement at the end of the exercise.
These are just a few examples of what you can achieve in class using education quizzes. You can always vary styles and strategies. Be creative and positive outcomes will show up in no time!
Thank you to all who hopped on over and followed our blogs and TPT Stores last weekend! Your participation in this little event was awesome! We do have a winner to announce
Teachingisagift McKay – your resources and Amazon gift code are on the way! Congratulations! Thanks to everyone who took the time to enter!
I want to mention one more thing this evening. My post just went live on Global Teacher Connect yesterday and it’s about student blogging. I’d really encourage you to have a peek if you are currently blogging with your students OR if it’s something that you’d be interested in trying next year. I have a Collaborative Project: Student Blogging Form that you can fill out with your info so that you are able to contact each other and pair yourselves up! So far, there are teachers from Morocco, US, Canada, Ecuador and Bermuda who would like to blog this year or next! How cool is that?
If you would like to be contacted next year for blogging – just add that as a note on the form. We already have two teachers who have posted their info, who would be interested in something for next school year.
I’ve just started blogging with my students in the last month or so and we’re about to collaborate with another school on the Island and one in Ontario, Canada. The kids are trying to “fix up” their blogs a bit more for their audience – which is what we want! We want them writing for a purpose, and with an audience in mind! Anyhow, I can see this evolving into something more for next year. Maybe even a “Blog-folio” type of idea. Regular blogging would be great, but also, having their best pieces of writing displayed for an audience would be so cool. It would also be neat to see their writing abilities progress through the year. Anyhow, I am quite excited about what we’ve done with the blogs so far, although we all still have much to learn!
Check out the post on GTC and even if you’d be interested in having your students READ the student blogs and comment on them – fill out the form! The wider the audience the better! Plus, I’d love for my students to get comments from kids all around the world. That would be a big part of my ultimate goal. (I’ll be working on this next year…so stay tuned if you’re at all interested…)
That’s it for this evening! Please leave a comment here or on the Global Teacher Connect post if you have any tips or questions for me about student blogging.
I know what you’re thinking! What do you mean school’s almost out? We have 2 months to go! Well, I wanted to have one more giveaway before it got too close to the end of the school year to use the awesome ideas and resources you’ll find in this event!
So, I’ve teamed up a new blogger-friend, Joey, from Create, Teach and Share. We’ve come up with this fantastic blog hop and giveaway! The participating bloggers are below. Be sure to hop to each of their blogs this weekend, check out their posts and give them a follow. The theme of the blog hop is “year-end” and so I know that you’ll find some great ideas for the end of the school year and because of the timing – you’ll be able to use them this school year. Per-ty smart, huh?
So, for my post in this School’s (Almost) Out Blog Hop, I’ve got three “End of Year” inspired ideas!
1) I am a reflective person by nature and so I made a little Student Reflection freebie for students to think back on the year that was. You can have them fill it out, decorate it and then laminate the reflections and give them back with report cards, or use them as a display for “closing ceremonies”. I know that I would love to have a little memento from my school year and so I hope that they will as well.
2) In my school, the students “graduate” in grade seven as we are currently a grade K-7 school. I always do a slide show presentation for their ”graduation” and so at this point in the year I’m on the lookout for songs that would be useable for the slide show. Just in case you’re in the same boat – here are a few songs for you to consider! (I’ve included the versions with lyrics:)
3) Do you get your students gifts at the end of the school year? I never did, until last year (too cheap). I got this idea from Confessions of a Teaching Junkie last spring. It’s a Wordle! What’s a wordle, you ask? Well, it’s word art. This is how I did it.
In June, I gave the students a class list and told them that I was planning something for them, but that I couldn’t give them any details. I asked the students to put a kind word/compliment beside each classmate’s name (and gave lots of appropriate examples to begin with). Athletic, kind, creative, musical, funny – you name it. I collected and compiled the compliments. Then, I used the Wordle website to make a personalized piece of word art for each student containing their name and all of the kind words that their classmates said about them. I also framed the wordles with dollar store frames, to make them more substantial. The finished product was really beautiful! The kids appreciated them on graduation night – and I think I’ll have to do them again this year because they were so well received!
Okay, that’s just about it from me. Be sure to hop over to my co-host’s blog Create, Teach and Share - you’ll love her! She’s awesome, as are the dozen teacher-bloggers below who have joined in the fun this weekend. Grab a cup of coffee, kick back and enjoy. Oh and of course, don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post!
Lots of awesome prizes to be won by ONE Grand Prize Winner!
Thanks again to the teachers above for their donations! Both Joey and I are giving you a choice of any three items in our TPT Stores and there’s a $35.00 Amazon gift card thrown in there as well:)
I’ve been super excited for this event, so I hope you enjoy it!
PLEASE NOTE: Just in case you’re new to Rafflecopter, clicking the “Follow Me” link on the widget doesn’t automatically follow the stores and blogs of the contributing teachers. It takes you to the store or blog and it’s up to you to follow once you’re there. If it’s a TPT Store, click on the red “Follow Me” above their name. If it’s a blog, look for how to follow them on the side bar – usually there are a few options. When you “Like” a Facebook link, it is automatic and then you can enter.
The choices we make affect what happens in our lives and can impact who we become. You know that. I know that. But how, oh how, can we get our pre-teens and teens to truly understand that? Many of them make poor choices that simply sabotage everything that they really want, and they act as though they’re a victim of circumstance. Some cry the “poor me’s” or are trapped in an endless cycle of learned helplessness and it drives me crazy! I can try to help them, but there comes a point where they need to help themselves first.
Of course, certain things ARE out of their control – that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the choices within only their control, that they are making within the run of a regular school day; choices that will or will not help them reach their overall goals.
So, why am I randomly talking about choices? Well, I’m sitting here doing my planning and I am SO hopeful for this week. We have been lucky enough to be one of four schools in PEI who will be a part of the Light Up Your World program. Presenters will be coming to our school and, in a workshop type of atmosphere, talk about choices and decisions and how we can make a difference in this world. (There’s more to it than that – but that’s the main idea!)
We have 2 grade seven classes and both will be involved with these workshops Monday – Wednesday, for hour and a half chunks each day. (It certainly makes planning for this week of classes a little lighter!) What I am hoping, though, is that this program will REALLY resonate with each student, but a couple in particular. I’m excited that we were chosen as a school to be a part of this and I’m even more excited to see how the students will react to the presenters and the overall message. I’ll be sure to let you know how it all plays out!
Here’s the link to the program, if you’re interested in checking it out: Light Up Your World
I hope you’re enjoying your Sunday! It’s a beautiful day here in PEI. I think maybe we’ll be heading to the pool for a swim and then some time outside for sure! Make the most of the rest of your weekend!
If I’ve thought it once,
I’ve thought it a million times,
Each year, a new kid,
Why do you act the way you do?
I spend so much of my time,
Trying to really figure out who you are,
Do you not see that I care?
I really, honestly care?
I want you to do well,
And to have every opportunity that you deserve.
If you do see that I give a shit,
Then, I ask again,
Why do you act the way that you do?
What are you so angry about?
Why are you so unfocused?
Why, when people try to help you,
Do you put your back up and then walk away?
Why do you act this way?
I’ll never know the life you live,
I have a feeling that if I did,
It would truly break my heart,
I can try to understand you,
I will always try,
But at the end of the day,
I do have enough sense to know,
That I’ll never fully get it,
There’s no way that I possibly can,
We’re just too different, you and I.
I do know,
That I’ll keep trying,
I’ll keep turning the other cheek, and then turn I’ll turn it again,
Because I know that tolerance, acceptance and kindness is what you need,
I know deep down that there are a million and one reasons,
Why you act the way you do,
I guess I just wish,
That I could help you to act the way I know YOU want to.
How do you get through to your most challenging students? What about when they don’t want to let you in?
Welcome to Kristy, from 2 Peas and a Dog, my guest blogger for today. Thanks again for such an awesome idea, Kristy. Enjoy folks!
Need a strategy to improve student achievement? Have you tried Bump It Up Boards? They are a great visual way to help your students self monitor their achievement.
How To Get Started:
Choose a curriculum expectation or focus you see as a need in your classroom. I chose the 4 R’s [retell, relate, reflect, review] reading reflections strategy.
Collect many work samples of your focus. You can use previous student work, ask colleagues for their examples, create your own, use government standardized test exemplars or search the internet for examples.
Ensure your samples represent a range of student achievement levels – not just ones that meet or exceed expectations.
Students worked in groups to read the responses and “grade or mark” each response based on their previous knowledge of what makes a good Retell, Relate, Reflect and Review.
A student in each group was the recorder and wrote down all of their ideas on what made the each exemplar a Level 2, (C), Level 3 (B) or a Level 4 (A).
We had a class discussion and compared our answers to ensure consistency among our expectations for Level 2, 3 and 4 work.
Final Process to Create the Board:
Type up student thinking under the appropriate curriculum expectation categories – this will become your Success Criteria.
Type up the assignment expectations and format the graded work samples to fit on to the display board.
Colour code your examples by level and attach to a bulletin board or poster board. Have students reference this board while working on their assignments to self monitor their progress.
Products to Support Bump It Boards
I just wanted to let you know that I found what looks to be a promising money-saving “deals” site specifically for teachers. We all know that we spend WAY too much of our own money on our students and in our classrooms. That being said, none of us have any plans of stopping, either. We get what we need for our students – period.
This new site is called Educents and launches in early April.
The bonus? You get a $15 gift certificate to the site JUST for signing up (which takes about 20 seconds). I haven’t used the site since it’s brand new – but I just wanted to share in case it really is something special AND they only have the sign up deal on for a limited time.
Sign up to get your gift certificate now! I figure, we’ve got nothing to lose! We can check out the site when it officially launches in April, see if we like it and spend our gift certificates.
Here’s to buying more and spending less! (My husband will LOVE to hear about this;)
Hope you’re having a lovely Saturday!