Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Enrichment is NOT about Worksheets

I have been struggling with a new focus on using diagnostics to guide my instruction.  For the first time in my teaching career, I was required to give reading and math diagnostics (both fall and spring). This blog post is not going to include my thoughts on these diagnostics however; I might consider writing one after I get my OAA scores back this summer.

Where I have struggled the most is with students “who already know the material.” These students need enriched – they need to be pushed to the next level.  Not necessarily to the 6th grade indicators but deeper into 5th grade indicators  I struggle because with all the differentiation that is required I find myself giving my students a worksheet and calling that enrichment.  OK I typed it:  the cat is out of the bag.

Fast forward to April reading, I had 11 students who showed they had mastered their non-fiction reading skills, and I was bound and determined not to give them a worksheet and call that reading instruction.  I spent a weekend reading blogs and going back to Choice Literacy searching for an idea. Finally I decided on having the students create their own game boards. I know that the best teaching comes when you have to teach someone else.  I hit gold with this idea. 
The planets are 3 dimensional: clay and different size planets made out of clay.
I divided the students into groups of 3-4 students.  They chose their own groups-more ownership. I assigned them a rubric that I found on line and adjusted it to our topic:  Earth and Space science.  I gave all the groups the same book and explained the project. Their timeline was one week to read the text, create the game board including directions, game cards, and pawns. We spent an entire afternoon playing Earth and Space games.  It was the BEST afternoon of the month.  The students laughed as they played “Eating Space” after Hungry Hippo. See the video below. They learned several new facts because the rest of the class had to use the text to locate the answers they did not know. That was exciting to hear, "Look on page 13 and skim for the answer." Many of the students made connections to the unit we just completed. It was a great review for our unit test. Finally I have 5 game boards to use for a review and hopefully I can beg to keep one of them for next year’s class as a mentor game board. Now that the "cats out of the bag" I am thankful because I believe enrichment is NOT about worksheets.

1 comment:

  1. What a GREAT project!

    Congrats for moving past the worksheets! (but really, sometimes that's all we have the energy for, and we shouldn't apologize. we do SOOOooo much every day, and sometimes we just can't make it to Super Teacher. sometimes, we just have to "do no harm.")