The Four Corners Strategy is a simple verbal strategy to help engage your students and improve discussion and discourse. In Four Corners, a question is presented to the class, and students are given time to think about their responses. Students will respond to the question by standing in a designated spot of the room that represents their answer choice. Typically, you allow for each corner of the four corners of your classroom to convey an answer choice. After posing your question, students will reflect on their answer and then move to their designated corner of the room. The Four Corners Strategy is a wonderful way to encourage debate and discourse in the classroom while also visualizing students' differences in ideas. By posing questions that elicit a more open-ended response, you can encourage students to think more critically about the question and their answer and prompt them to justify their choice.
A simple verbal strategy to check for student understanding throughout your lesson is the Student Response System and is the focus of this article. This strategy presents questioning prompts in multiple-choice or true-false format for students to answer in real-time. Students will respond to the prompts using pre-made cards with A, B, C, D, True, False, or other information to indicate their selection of an answer choice displayed on the board. The student response system can be prepared easily by cutting out printed cards, laminating them, and making them available to each student in your classroom. If you have it available at your school, there are also electronic versions of this student response system, commonly known as Clickers. Physical devices may be available for use at your school, or you may have an app or website that you can access to employ an online student response system.
Every teacher struggles from time to time with the art of closing a lesson effectively. We all know the importance of wrapping up the lesson, linking it to prior knowledge, and building anticipation for the next lesson. Ideally, that daily wrap-up should include some quick from of assessment or check for understanding that you can use to inform your instruction for the next day. One quick and effective way to do just that is through the use of an exit ticket.
Many people often think that a formal assessment is a sufficient way to check their students’ understanding. While these assessments are certainly useful to determine your students’ level of content mastery at the end of a unit, checking for understanding is something that should happen regularly throughout a lesson.
It is now independent practice time for your lesson, and to an outside observer it appears that students are silent, working hard, and grappling with task at hand. All looks well, but how do know that students are actually mastering the material they are working on and will be ready for your planned exit ticket or mini assessment?
This is where Active Monitoring comes in. One of the major responsibilities of a teacher during independent work is to actively gather real-time, objective-aligned data that will enable direct action when student misconceptions are identified. A more focused, strategic example of Active Monitoring, Aggressive Monitoring, can be highly effective in catching student misunderstandings and ensuring student mastery prior to the actually assessment. In this article, we will provide a detailed overview of how to use Aggressive Monitoring in your classroom.
In what year did World War II begin? What type of energy is generated from the sun? How many cookies are in 15 boxes if there are 6 cookies in each box? These types of questions are easy to assess. The student response is either right, or it’s wrong. You can simply assign a point value to each question and easily determine a grade. But what about when your students are sharing an oral presentation and slideshow about an endangered animal they spent an entire week researching? Or if they are writing a personal narrative about a special moment in their life? How about if they are conducting a scientific investigation on the states of matter and submitting a detailed lab report? How do you assess these types of assignments fairly where there is so much room for variation in quality? In these cases, a rubric is exactly what you need.
I regularly tell my students, “Reading tests are completely manageable. The evidence is right in front of you, you just have to take the time to find it.” So often, students rush through a multiple choice test, not giving much thought to each individual answer and just choosing one that sounds accurate. Or they may have to draft a written response to a short answer question, and instead of pulling specific details from the text, they write a too brief, generic response in very vague terms. If you find this is the case with some of your students, you can teach them specific strategies to use when they are tackling any reading assessment.
We’ve all heard a student complain, “This is too hard, I’ll never understand.” Or maybe even, “I’m not a math person, I just don’t get it.” These statements both reflect a fixed mindset, and one of our responsibilities as educators is to encourage a shift in our students from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. According to Dr. Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford University and a leading researcher in the field of motivation, a growth mindset is the “understanding that abilities and intelligence can be developed.” Once students have this mindset, watch their confidence soar! Even as they face academic struggles, they will understand that the struggle is part of the process of learning.
If you are looking for a quick way to get a general idea of a new student’s reading level, the San Diego Quick Assessment may be the right tool for you!
Some educational diagnostic tools truly stand the test of time! The San Diego Quick Assessment is certainly one of those tools. In 1969, Margaret La Pray and Ramon Ross created 13 lists of 10 words each based on grade level. These lists range from pre-primer and primer through eleventh grade. Originally published in Journal of Reading, these word lists are now available online and can be used by educators as a method to determine a student’s reading level.
Have you chosen a passage for your students to read in class but weren’t sure whether the level of complexity was right? Do you wonder about the real Lexile® level of STAAR passages or other standardized tests? Or, perhaps you’d like to type up your own sample passages for students, but want to make sure you are writing text at the appropriate level for your students.
This post will review two sources to help you analyze texts more deeply, so that you can provide your students the right level of texts to help move them towards mastery of their grade level standards.