What happens when two reading classes mix students and take part in an Epic Tweet Battle? An engaging lesson in which the purpose-for-reading writes itself.
Our classes met in the common-space under a veil of mystery and anticipation. Students were randomly grouped, and team captains were given sealed envelopes with the rules.
Each group found out which character they were, the purpose for the tweet battle, and were instructed to highlight text that would help them in the tweet battle. We read, we highlighted, and then we battled!
The rules were simple:
- Tweets must be grounded in the text.
- Tweets must be school appropriate.
- Tweet may not use modern slang.
Both Lindsey and I were projecting our classroom Twitter accounts and following the hashtag we created for the event.
The students loved it so much , they wanted to continue another day. Luckily, we have an awesome administrator who wanted to jump in as Katrina Van Tassel. Adding her to the mix re-energized the students and helped to keep them on track.
Check out some of the tweets!
It didn’t take very long to answer my earlier question about student engagement and laptops. It was evident early on that students still need to move, talk, and create both on paper and on their HP Streams. The trick is figuring out when they can be pushed through frustration, and knowing when it is time to go old-school.
Lindsay and I decided to jump right in with the technology. We had the students create Excel Surveys to poll the students on their team about personal interests. It was a frustrating couple of days, but well worth it. The students enjoyed taking each other’s surveys. Sorting the data was a challenge; I obviously did not do a great job of teaching them how to use Excel. (More on that later.)
When it came time to share their analysis and look for team wide patterns, the kids were ready to use big paper and markers. They needed a break from huddling around their Streams, and welcomed the chance to stretch out on the floor to share data. Hanging the ‘data gallery’ allowed for much needed movement and a chance to see the big picture.
Next, it was back to the Streams to create infographics to share the data. Lindsay and I are excited to share some of them soon!
The social studies teacher on my team asked, “What site do you use to get your grouping ideas?”
To be honest, I’m not sure. I know that I subscribe to professional magazines, newsletters, and blogs. I also spend more time than I would like to admit looking for good ideas on Twitter and Pinterest. 🙂 However, I can not point to one single place where all of my ideas come from. Many are simply things that I come up with on the fly. Others are hybrids of ideas that I’ve read about.
If I accidentally share one of your ideas…Please remember – imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.
1. Index Cards – I love index cards. They can be used in so many ways. I like to hand them out at the door with instructions posted on the board. “Use the words/phrases/symbols on the cards to group yourselves in a logical way.” What I write on them depends on how I want to group the students:
- pairs: synonyms/antonyms; cause & effect; riddles and answers; terms & definitions; state & capitol; picture & metaphor
- small groups: lines from characters; quotes related to themes we are studying; characters and character traits; math problems with same solutions; colors
- ordered lines: “I have…who has” (see post from Jan. 28); events related to unit of study; order of steps in solving an equation; order of the planets, events in a story
2. Playing Cards – Uno, Old Maid, regular playing cards…It really doesn’t matter. There is just something so intriguing to students when you stand at the door saying, “Pick a card. Any card.”
3. Dominoes – Practically indestructible. One reason these are great is that you can group by: number of dots; color; sum of dots or many other ways.
4. Stickers – Kids love them. Group by type, color, size, etc. An added bonus is the opportunity for a quick hello with every student.
These are just a few ideas. I would love to hear your suggestions.
After reading several articles on ice safety, students collected key details on ‘big paper.’
Then they rotated to another group’s work to see if they had identified any of the same details and tagged them.
Next steps… class discussion of tagged information, debate over ‘untagged’ details, consensus on key information…
They will use this to make a short ice saftey public service video. Important stuff when living in New England!
Looking for a quick a quick way to partner students? Try corny riddles.
As students enter the classroom give them a slip of paper with either a riddle or an answer written on it. Have them quickly find their partner and then work together on a posted task.
What are a ghosts favorite amusement park rides?
the roller-ghoster and scary-go-round
Jack Berckemeyer taught us this at a NELMS conference. Kate quickly made up a bunch of sets for both of our classrooms.
Each group of students gets a set of letter cards. B, D, F, O, P, R, A, S, T, L, H, N; ambiguous M/E/W ; an ambiguous U/C (If the students figure out that they can flip an ‘ambiguous letter card’ to create a new letter, they may.) Then you give the students a task, and they get started.
What a great way to review terms for a test, generate word banks, practice with morphemes, etc.!
Check out Jack’s site for free handouts, videos and other resources. http://jackberckemeyer.com/