I’m always looking for new ways to assess my students’ reading without making them do a book report. I honestly have never assigned a book report and I don’t think I ever will. But there still has to be some accountability for their reading. How else would I know whether or not they do what I ask?
In thinking about this last week, I stumbled across the memory of attending the New Mexico AP Summer Institute in Albuquerque in June 2006. The presenter for the workshop I attended included a “Creative Thinking Test” for a specific novel in with our materials. My favorite question was #4, the Creative Thinking Questions. These questions asked readers to think figuratively about their novel, comparing a character or an event to an object, color, or personal characteristic. I have taken this idea and expanded it to a longer (and not finished) list of comparisons.
My students have answered some of these questions before, but many of them didn’t come up with the result I was looking for. So I’m going to take a more structured approach.
- Test prep – how to respond to short answer questions.
- Marzano: Similarities and Differences (and SIOP: use of graphic organizer)
- Figurative language
- Reading Comprehension
The plan is to model the activity step-by-step. So I’ll model, they’ll do. I’ll model, they’ll do. The goal is that they’ll come to understand that some questions have more than one part that needs to be answered. I reformatted this list so each question will fit on an index card. The beauty of doing that is I can do this activity more than once, and students are not likely to draw the same question twice.
In looking at steps 1 and 2, I did organize it this way on purpose. Often, students will do a cold answer of a question without really thinking about it. I want them to be able to compare that type of answer to an answer that is well thought out, and the only way to do this is by not having them plan their answers first.
Step 1: Each student draws a card, reads it, writes it down on his/her paper, then answers it.
Step 2: Using a T-Chart, write down the characteristics of the character or event chosen, and the figurative term (underlined) on the card.
Step 3: Look at how the question is broken down. Using colored highlighters or 3 different colored pencils, mark the three parts to the question.
Step 4: Review answer written. Mark answer with corresponding colors.
Step 5: One color at a time, expand the answer so that it completely answers each part of the question. Check those sentences for grammar and spelling mistakes.
Step 6: Rewrite paragraph in a cohesive way, remembering to indent, etc.