Forget the Drill and Kill
For skills that you have already taught up to this point in the year, instead of doing “Drill and Kills” try assessing your students’ ability to apply this new knowledge when
problem-solving. Using Blooms Level III, “Application” Solve problems in new situations by applying acquired knowledge, facts, techniques, and rules in a different, or new way will provide you the opportunity to see if they can handle the rigor of STAAR.
Students Take Charge of their Learning
Arrange students in small groups (mixed ability). Give students role cards with the job description. Students will need to have an explanation of roles, modeling and or reminders as they work in groups.
Provide each group with several word problems so they can decide which one they want to solve.
Ask them to discuss what strategies they would use to solve the problem and share out why they chose that strategy.
Managing Cooperative Group Work:
Circulate the room to “Check in” with groups. You are looking for collaboration, students actively participating according to their roles and that they are working on the assigned project. You are not on your computer, grading papers or in the hall talking to another teacher…
When listening in on group conversations remember they are in charge of their learning. Teachers find it tempting to add comments to move groups along, however, this takes away the higher level thinking process. Use your Bloom’s questioning strategies and make observations to guide the groups.
“So tell me again your role? What will that look like in today’s activity? Never say, “Your role is _________ and you should be doing______.”
One small group learning methodology where the use of group roles is well-defined and researched is the Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) method.
Here are some possible roles to consider:
Facilitator, Manager, Speaker, Timekeeper, Fact Checker here are some common roles with duties: Role cards for Cooperative Groups – The Teaching Center.
When groups finish presenting their problem-solving strategies with the class you will have a clear understanding if your students are Applying what you’ve taught them.