“Helping students to get into it”

Here are two simple ways to help your students get into it in the classroom…

Post reading/ pre discussion activity – to help address the following common concern: “Students never do the reading.”

Step 1: Students are assigned a reading to be completed before class.
Step 2: You choose 3 to 4 major concepts or themes from the reading.
Step 3. You write each of these concepts or themes in its own section on the board.
Step 4: As students enter the classroom, you ask them to write a comment or a question under one or more of the concepts or themes. Suggest that that write about things such as what:

  • surprises or unsettles them
  • confuses or bewilders them
  • they agree with strongly
  • makes them question something else they’ve heard
  • they want to know more about

Step 5: Use the students’ comments to begin and to direct the discussion of the concepts and themes from the reading.  Encourage them to comment not only on what they’ve written but what other students have written as well. Point out agreements, disagreements, and multiple views.

Prompts for peer review of writing – to help address the following common concern: “Students aren’t capable of critiquing each other’s writing; they usually just say it’s great.”

Step 1: Students choose or are assigned partners.
Step 2: Students read each other’s work and are asked to: Tell your partner what you think his or her paper is about.
Answers to this prompt help the writer to discover if he or she has communicated his or her main thoughts in a manner that the reader can easily understand.
Step 3: Students are then asked to: Tell your partner what you don’t understand in the paper and/or something you want to know more about.

Answers to this prompt help the writer to discover what is still in his or her head, what is assumed by the writer to be known, implied, or communicated to the reader but is not! These prompts are especially useful to first and second year writers.

Enjoy helping your students to notice, connect, and respond –
Cinse

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