06 May

Laziness is the Mother of Invention

Anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying or hasn’t lived in 21st century America.  Last week, laziness led to a pretty awesome, effective, low-prep activity for my kids.  I’m dying to share.

Here’s how it goes:

1) Have the kids read or read aloud a passage.  Do your typical close read thing, have the students work with partners to summarize, whatever.  Bottom line: make sure they understand the text.

2) Give the kids question stems.  We’ve been developing question stems all year, based on different assessments.  We don’t bother with the obvious ones like “what is the main idea”, but instead focus on the ones that are a little confusing.  These are posted alongside the corresponding graphic organizer.  More recently, I’ve added question stems based off of the state assessments we’ll take in a few weeks.  Even if you don’t have them around the room, you probably have question stems that you use, so why not share them with the kids?

Graphic Organizers with Question Stems

3) Have the kids create their own multiple choice tests using the question stems.

Kids' Tests

And there you have it.  Kids get way more familiar with question stems and are more prepared to answer questions.  They’re actively engaged (don’t ask me why, but kids love this) in asking and answering questions (oh wait, that’s a standard!).  They’re using higher order thinking skills (hello, create).  It’s bonkers how good this is for the kids, and it’s still accessible for students who struggle because they can copy the question and fill in the blank.  And to top it off, it’s low-prep independent work my kids can do while I pull groups.

Next year, this will totally be a literacy center all year long.  I only wish I thought of it early.  What low-prep independent work do you have your students doing?

[…] have a name for question stems. I never knew what they were […]

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