I’ve tried several ways to assign IXL so that the assignments are appropriate and differentiated.
(If I were using IXL for math, I could have students use the Recommended Lessons on the Math Diagnostic, but that isn’t an option for Language Arts.)
I’ve found a good way to assign a series of lessons on a given topic that will meet the needs of my students who range from Beginning Reader to Lexiles in the 1100s.
These tiny IXL tickets get stapled into the student’s agenda books so they have the sequence of lessons with them at all times. Students mark off each lesson they complete, and then I meet with them near the due date (typically two weeks) to check their progress and award stickers for their iPhones.
Below are the PDF versions of the IXL Tickets I’ve used in class most recently. I plan on going back and tweaking some from earlier in the year.
When you take a look at these files, you will see they cover different grade levels and sequences depending on the skills.
Students have the option of working horizontally or vertically on some tickets, finding just the right place for them. As always, I encourage them to “Level Up!” when they can.
Fish by L.S. Matthews was my pick for the Global Read Aloud. We are only a chapter and a half in, but so far, so good.
I’ve been making some vocabulary squares for my 7th and 8th graders and thought I would post them here in case anyone else could use them. Even if you aren’t reading Fish now as part of the GRA, maybe you will in the future.
At this time, I have three sets you can download. I’ve also linked my Quizlets for each set.
Please leave a comment if you are doing the GRA! I would love to connect with others who are participating!
Two months ago, I was blogging about flipped lessons and how I was excited to try it with my resource room. I did do three flipped lessons with my 8th graders; I played sections of the novel and they had to complete some questions, but I realized afterwards, they didn’t really understand what was happening in the novel because they were missing out on the class discussion – something that my students really need.
I haven’t given up the thought of doing flipped lessons. It just seemed that what we were doing in class didn’t work well with the flipped lesson concept.
However, with MAP testing this week, I lost two class periods, so I thought I’d try again with a vocabulary lesson.
Vocabulary is something that my students need to hear and work with quite a bit before they can understand the words and use them appropriately. If I were to send them home with a list of words and told them to look up the definition, I would get random definitions they may or may not match the context of the novel.
Being below-grade level readers, they may not be able to pronounce the words or understand the definitions they wrote, let alone use them correctly.
The lesson I am going to attempt to link to here, (please click and check it out!) is based on the approach I have used the entire time we have been reading The Giver. These vocabulary squares are something that have evolved over the course of the year with some collaborating with one of my colleagues.
We have worked through similar activities in class together five other times. What I say in the video is very similar to what I would say in class, except that my students are not interacting obviously. It typically takes us a period and a half to go through 6 vocabulary words.
With this approach, students will complete three of the words for homework and we will spend a 15-20 minutes reviewing the words the next day. I will then assign the second half o the list for the next night.
I used Screencast-o-Matic to make the video, but unfortunately my laptop died right after the third word. I’ll see how this first video goes and then make a separate flipped lesson for the other three words.
I am hoping that the familiarity of the format and the types of activities, as well as my directions and explanations, will provide a preview to the words and cut down on class time. In addition, every student will have the opportunity to independently complete the work and not just rely on discussion.
I wish I could insert the video here within my post, but I am not sure how to do that right now.
Let me know if you can’t view the video.
Also, if you’ve taught vocab via a flipped lesson tell me about your experience.
Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!
(p.s. I know that the first word has some mistakes with the synonyms. I caught myself mid-video and just corrected it instead of re-recording.)
So Friday afternoon, around 2:35 p.m., one of my colleagues makes a comment about how I should make a bulletin board outside of my classroom because he’s gotten so many comments on his Shades of Meaning bulletin board he created. I’m thinking it’s more for the topic that the content, but it does look pretty cool. Maybe he’ll let me post a picture of it sometime.
But anyway, if you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know what happened next.
I would not say that I cave to peer pressure; I’m a pretty independent and stubborn person. However, I do fall victim to peer challenges. He had me at “You should….”
What kind of colleague are you?
Do you share ideas with your colleagues?
Do you motivate them?
Do you encourage them?
Do you challenge them?
When I read a novel in my classroom, I tend to go a little overboard.
I try to create an environment that reflects the book. Between the use of props, visuals, and specific language, I try to recreate the world we are reading about. This is very easy with The Giver. (If you haven’t read The Giver, you might not understand the lingo I am using here.)
My students have been placed in Reading Communities. The Green, Orange, and Red Communities perform differentiated group Tasks in their designated Community Areas a few days each week.
When I need to conference with a student individually, they may hear this: “Community Member 13, please report to the Grading Area immediately.”
And what about homework?? Well, my Thirteens and Fourteens no longer have homework. But, they do have Dwelling Work.
I require students to speak with “precision of language” whether we are talking about the novel or just casual conversation. It’s a great way to promote the use of stronger, more specific, content-related vocabulary.
By taking on the language and adopting unique characteristics of the novel, I am improving their understanding of the book and making the characters come to life.
No matter what my own children say (“Mom!! That is soooo lame!”), or what my students say (“Oh my gosh…seriously???). I know they love it.
I couldn’t wait until we read Chapter 7, and I could say to them daily, “Thank you for your childhood.”
Stay tuned for more posts about this novel experience!
Meanwhile, how do you make a novel come alive in your classroom?
Did you see The Giver movie? What did you think?
This ReadWriteThink flip book is quick, customizable, and easily made on a copier. All students have to do is cut on the lines.
Flip books make excellent study tools and reference materials.
I have seen this most often used for vocabulary words or for math formulas/processes.
Flip books will work for any concept that can be broken down into smaller parts:
- The characters of a novel
- The biomes
- Types of energy
The large white space provides room for drawings and diagrams, as well as text.
We recently made a flip book (using the generator at ReadWriteThink) which included important literary terms for our upcoming novel. This served as a review of concepts we’ve already covered and will be a good tool for them as we complete our reading.
Our tabs included:
- Narrator and point of view
- Flat and Round Character
- Static and Dynamic Character
- Internal and External Conflict
- Foreshadowing and Flashback
Each week my Resource Room students have to complete a reading passage and comprehension questions at their specific ability level. This ranges anywhere from Beginning-Low to Intermediate-High. I like to use stories from ReadTheory.
Students are expected to complete these one page readings independently. The last few times we did this activity, I made them circle the text that supported their answer. This forced them to go back, locate the “evidence” and confirm their answer. I’m happy, and not suprised, to say their scores have drastically improved since I starting enforcing this rule.
To get the most out of this leveled reading I created an additional activity which students have been completing in groups. On the first page, students have to identify:
On the second page I decided to throw in some grammar/language and vocabulary. Note the small boxes in the right hand corner of each. This is where I can modify the assignment for each student. I put a number in each box to tell them how many nouns, verbs, and adjectives they need to find. I do the same for the vocabulary words.
This activity takes them quite awhile and is very challenging for this group of students. I direct them to their journal notes or the Part of Speech bulletin board to figure out what they are looking for. It takes about 20-25 minutes for most groups to complete it. This provides me with some time to circulate and talk to all the students and note what they are having trouble with. It also gives me time to point out things like capitalization of names and cities.
The way I designed this, it can work with any short story. If you think of any ways to improve or to add additional skills let me know.
- Summarizing Short Stories: Story Elements and Conflict (allaccesspassblog.wordpress.com)
Here is another use I thought of last week during some downtime on conference night. I really wanted to get lesson plans done but after two nights of PT conferences and not feeling so great, this was the most productive I could be.
I was writing these terms on the board daily but this will be much faster. I can have Tweedle Dee pull the right terms out of the stack and hang them up each day depending on the skills we are covering. I put magnetic tape on the back for easy hanging. I did just read a tip (linked below) how to insert phrases into Wordle. (Use the ~ between words.)
Right now we are working towards increasing vocabulary and improving vocabulary comprehension. These activities are all variations of the same concept using different formats. Students must find similarities and differences between words in a list.
On the SMART Board
There are several tools you can use including:
Word Sort (with headings of Same and Different) This would require one page per set of words, but as a presenter once told me, “Pages are free” so it really doesn’t matter if you use 100 pages.
The multiple choice activity works also. You can do up to 10 questions per page.
The easiest? I just make lists/groups of words and cover them with the disappearing box. A student reveals a set and then they all use their dry erase boards to write their answers. I let them work in groups for this so they can have some discussion about the meaning of the words.
- “Clickers” – I wrote a grant for Senteo Interactive Response System a few years ago and using these hand-held devices is the closest I can get to BYOT in my Resource Room this year. The students love using clickers and I am collecting ideas on how to use them to share in a future post.
Old School Method
Using index cards, I made a set of cards for each of my round tables. Three cards were similar. One didn’t match up. Students rotated to each table in pairs and had to discuss and write down the words that did not belong. This activity keeps them moving and lets them interact and discuss ideas with classmates.
The title of this post made me think of Sesame Street and a popular segment. Who remembers this?