Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Communication Arts Test Review Ideas

In addition to your MAP-like practice of giving students ‘cold practice’ of applying skills, here are a few ideas to interactively review skills such as: cause/effect, problem/solution, main idea, compare/contrast, author’s purpose, inferences, sequence events, predictions, fact/opinion, setting, character traits, summarizing, dictionary skills, synonyms, antonyms, context clues …

~Fan and Pick -
• Assign a reading passage.
• Write communication arts questions from DESE on notecards. (http://www.dese.mo.gov/divimprove/curriculum/commarts/documents/ca_standards_interp_111208.pdf )
• In groups of four, students play Fan and Pick. One student fans the cards. One student chooses a card and asks the question. One student answers the question. One student praises or gives correct answer if incorrect answer was given.
• Students rotate roles and continue playing.

*That’s Me –
• Choose four or five key skills.
• Assign a skill to each child – five students would be fact, five would be opinion, five would be character trait, etc. (Randomly assign – don’t cluster)
• Read a list of statements to the class (one statement at a time). If the statement is their assigned skill – have those students stand and say, “That’s Me!”
• Example: Read a statement -- Mrs. Jones is the nicest teacher in the 4th grade. The students with the opinion cards would stand and say (in unison), “That’s Me!” Instruct the other students in the room to try to guess the skill “name” of the standing students. In this case, their name would be “opinion.”

*Snowball Fight –
• Have students number their papers from 1-20. Students do NOT write their names on the papers.
• State a cause and have students write the effect on number one.
• Instruct students to wad up their papers and toss them.
• Students pick up a paper, unwad it and grade it together.
• Instruct students to list a character trait (with evidence) about a character you’ve recently read about in class. (They write on the wadded paper.)
• Instruct students to wad up their papers and toss them.
• Students pick up a paper, unwad it and grade it together.
• Repeat …

*Vocabulary on the Move –
• Create a list of key skill cards. – one skill per card. Write the skill on one side and an example of the skill on the other side. (One side: Simile The other side: The flowers danced like ballet dancers in the wind.)
• Tape one card on the back of each student. (example of key skill showing – students must flip up to see answer)
• Instruct students to ask yes/no questions of other students to try to determine their key skill. Be sure to model this.
• Example: A student may have this written on his back, “The flowers danced like ballet dancers in the wind.”
• He would walk around asking questions like, “Am I a metaphor?” The student looking at the card would have to read it, try to determine what it is and flip the card up to check the answer before answering his question.

*Give Me Five!
• Assign a short reading passage.
• Have students answer these five questions:
o What mental pictures do I see?
o What does this remind me of? (connections)
o What do I know now, even though I wasn’t told the information in the text? (inferring)
o What might happen next? (predicting)
o What was this mostly about? (summarizing)

~Modifed from Kagan Cooperative Learning Structure: http://www.kaganonline.com/
*Hollas, B. (2005). Differentiating Instruction in a Whole-Group Setting. Peterborough, NH: Crystal Springs Books

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