Sunday, December 7, 2014

MMI - using task cards for review

I'm linking up yet again with Tara, over at Fourth Grade Frolics, for her great linky called Monday Made It.

We've been using McGraw Hill's new reading series, Wonders, this year.  In my opinion, the best part has been the literature, and the tie in with the workshop story and paired reading selection each week.  The list of things I'm unhappy about is too long to list here.  For the second unit, we decided to start creating weekly selection tests again that are similar to ones we made for our previous series.  I've also made consistent vocabulary pages and question pages for the workshop story.  We've done these for 3 weeks now, and I've been happy with them!

We use the web pages that mirror the workshop vocabulary pages.  We look for context clues in the sample sentences and come up with definitions to write on the page above, and then sort the words in the chart based on how the word is used in the sample sentences.  We discuss how words can be used in different ways, and how different forms of the word create uses that would fall under other parts of speech.  I keep these words up on my vocab wall throughout the unit (you can see pics under "My Classroom" page).  The students then complete the back page, which is shown below.

Using the workshop story to practice QAR
This is my variation on QAR (question-answer relationship).  I think it's good for students to think about the different types of questions, and know how to successfully answer each.  This past week was the first time that I didn't have one question for each of the different types.  The students did very well.  It's hard to make a "think and search" or come up with an inferencing question in general for nonfiction.

For the selection tests, we've incorporated a variety of questions that cover all of the standards we've covered so far.  The nice thing about making your own materials is knowing that the students should be able to have success on every question.  I also like have a variety of multiple choice and short answer.  The last question ties the paired selection in the literature anthology to the main selection.  I also have coded the standards for each question to help with our standards-based grading....
 It will be so nice to have all of these done for next year!

I love task cards for many reasons.  I've amassed quite a collection that I've both bought and made.  There's a free product in my store I made about using them.  For our Friday center-type routine, I came up with a way to use these for review.  It's called "Five in a Row, and GO!" 

After I've covered a topic that I have task cards for, they are added to this basket.  Each set is in a baggie with an answer key.  Like "Go Fish," students take turns drawing a task card and then answering.  Another member of the group checks their answer.  If they are right, they keep the card.  If they are wrong, all the cards they have go back into the pile and they start over.  The logic is that if they can successfully answer five in a row for any particular skill, they should understand the concept.  The other nice thing about this is that students can join at any time, which is helpful since I'm constantly pulling students to work with on this day.

 Here are some boys playing this with my fragment, sentence, run-on cards.

My daughter got an idea from Pinterest and we made mugs for the special ladies in her life.  They came out great!  She did the leg work, and painting the snowmen faces.  I helped write the names on them.

And my mom helped me to get my house in the Christmas spirit.  This is such a cozy room now, that I've spent most of my day here today getting work done!

Have a great week everyone!


  1. Love your craft project and your fireplace looks so inviting! I haven't done ANY decorating...not sure what will actually get done this year. SIGH!

  2. I love how you have your students color the box with type of QAR question before answering!! Your house looks so festive & beautiful! Your 5 in a Row Go! idea is terrific!!

  3. Great ideas for teaching the reading series! I am trying to use our HM series, which is CA state standards, with Common Core standards, and basically I'm recreating the wheel this year! I love how you use the task cards! I have really gotten into using them more for independent work. I'm working on organizing them with a system that works for me. Thank you for the great ideas!

  4. Great ideas here, Mary. You've put in so much work with the new Reading series this year. Hopefully next year will be a breeze. A textbook company should just hire you to help them write a series - you'd be great at that. I love your 5 in a row an go idea - I may use that wily my Math task cards.

    Math is FunDamental

  5. My district hasn't adopted a new reading series yet, which has made life very difficult trying to find materials and resources that reach the depths of our new common core standards. On one hand I'm glad, because I don't think there is anything out there yet worth adopting. On the other hand life is very difficult for all of us trying to create assessments/resources for our students to use. I love what you have done Mary! Thanks for sharing!! Enjoy your Christmas Break!