Friday, May 22, 2015

No-Prep Alphabet Review Game

For me it is finals week!

I really do think that teacher made reviews are the best. After all, we know what will be on the test :) However, there is something to be said for student made reviews.

First of all, it gives the teacher a chance to see what students feel are the most important parts.

Second, I can find misunderstandings and quickly clarify.

Third, any time students are creating something, I feel that they learn more.

Finally, if at all possible, I like to steal questions or ideas from them to put on the tests. This way the activity feels more "real" and the students can see I do listen to them. This isn't always necessary as quite often students will hit the nail on the head and ask questions that are very similar to what the test had originally.

Here's one of my favorites because it is so easy and adaptable.

This year I didn't have a chance to make my alphabet books (next year I will). However, I did use this super easy review game with an alphabet theme.

I divided the class into three different groups based on what we had studied. This was a literature class so: "The Rubaiyat", Magical Realism, and Things Fall Apart. In their groups they received different worksheets with letters of the alphabet and made review questions based off of them.

This could be done without the worksheets making it completely no-prep. Want more details? Read on:

  1. Depending on how much information you covered make those different groups. These can be very basic, or more complex. In many cases it will be the different units you covered.
  2. I like to start individually, and then have students pair up, but if you want collaboration right away then assign pairs different chunks. 
    • Assign each student a different chunk of the alphabet and a topic. You can have this on the board, or just verbally. Since I have them pair up later each chunk should be assigned more than once. 
      • One student may be given A-H - Things Fall Apart, and other student A-H- Magical Realism, while another I-P Things Fall Apart etc. 
      • I give the last group (Q-Z) more letters because they are harder, and will be able to skip more in later steps.
  3. Give students just over a minute per question. Students must create a question where the question OR answer uses the letter. 
    • A- What's the word that means really dry? Arid OR Angels in "The Very Old Man With Enormous Wings" are thought to look like what?
  4. If students haven't finished that's fine. Have them meet with another student who has the same assignment (. With my students they usually end up in pairs, but if you have a bigger class it may be groups of three. Have them compare their questions and answers. Together they'll create the ones they like best. This also gives them a chance to help each other if they were missing a letter. At this point, I tell them I expect them to have 7 questions. This lets A-H skip one letter, and Q-Z skip three.   
    • So for example, All of the A-H Things Fall Apart students will get together, re-word questions, eliminate duplicates, and decide on the seven that they like the best.
  5. Now for the big groups. Have the whole alphabet get together! As a group they need to come up with 20 questions! There should be no duplicates. 
  6. Finally, students present these to the class, and the class tries to answer them.
    •  If you have time and technology available, you can have the groups make Kahoots and then play them as a class.
  7. (optional) If you have time have the students fill out a quick exit slip. What questions were hard for them? Why? What questions were easy? Why? What information will they review because of this? 
This requires no prep and is really a great chance to have students review the material. I saw pretty much every student take out the text and notes to try and find how they could

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Get your school some money! (TurnItIn & Target)

Have you heard of Target's "Thanks a Billion" campaign going on right now?

You can thank a teacher via their site and they'll donate $25 to the school!

I've read the small print and it is legit.

The program runs from Starting on May 14, to June 15, 2015 (or when Target donates a total of 6 million dollars).

No school can earn more than $25,000 total, but that's a nice chunk of change.

So, what do you have to do? Not much! Visit and log in using your Facebook account. Then find your K-12 school using your zip-code. Add a message and send. Voila! You've donated $25.

You can thank as many teachers as you want, but only your first "thanks" counts towards the donation. Be sure to let parents, students, and fellow teachers know about this!

Another great opportunity for schools using is to have your students answer of their "Spring Training" prompts.

Later you'll be asked to fill out a survey detailing how you felt the prompt worked with your class.

They'll also ask for a link to your Donor's Choose project. Donors Choose is a site that allows public K-12 teachers to create projects that other people can support by donating money towards them.

In this case, turnitin will donate $1 per student response! It does cap out at $2,000 but that's a great start to many projects.

Prompts are limited (some are already closed!) so be sure to sign up now and have your students turn them in before June 30th to take advantage.

Know of any other great opportunities? Let me know in the comments, and I'll share them too :)
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