Four Square Story Map

One struggle for me has been to create questions and activities that help my students practice their critical thinking skills. Much of what we do in class, regrettably, is regurgitation and transformation. Standardized test results show that students at my school and at schools throughout the nation struggle when it comes to critical thinking and…

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Ninesquare

With the end of the year fast approaching (less than 2 1/2 weeks left for me!), I’m spending my afternoons trying to think of new ways to review old stories. Today, we’re working with one of the favorite stories from each class and doing an activity that I’m calling “Ninesquare”. First, choose a story script…

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Simultaneous Presentations

The Simultaneous Presentations format is a great way to for students to do presentations that spares both the teacher and their students the pain of sitting quietly and straining to hear 34 separate individual presentations. My awesome mentor, Nina Bonito-Romine, shared this presentation format with me last year, and I will never go back! HOW…

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Rethinking Dictation in language classes

Dictations have been a standard activity for language classes for a very long time. In particular, the traditional French dictĂ©e has a non-negotiable place in courses from Kinder through university level courses. Traditionally, dictations are used to learn spelling– a purpose which is debatable at best. Certainly, direct spelling instruction and practice has a positive…

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Binary CLOZE Reading Comprehension Assessment

My middle school is TItle I (the only one in our district), and with that classification comes some challenges, but overwhelmingly it brings great opportunity–tons of professional development opportunities and resources that would not otherwise be affordable. Clark was torn down after the 2007 school year ended and closed for two years while it was…

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Free Write Form with Rubric

I updated my Free Write Form yesterday after a great conversation in our Electives team meeting about curriculum alignment and collaboration in our building. The Language Arts Department instructs and assesses student work based on the Six Traits Writing model, and next year all students will be given a universal writing screener that all faculty will…

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“I can” writing assessment: Choose your target proficiency level

For my student’s writing assessment today, I allowed them to “choose their target”. I gave them the expectation for what Advanced, Proficient, and Developing skill level would look like and let them choose how to proceed. Proficiency-based Performance Assessment All assessments in my classes are Performance assessments that are proficiency-based. Remember that Proficiency is what…

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