Like Clockwork

Tuesday, November 26, 2013
your curly comrade, Suzanne

With the STAAR retest right around the corner, we have several finished essays laying around that need some reflection.  I don't know about you, but re-entry into writing needs lots of of teacher prompting.  Clocking was a good fit for us last week.  

Clocking is traditionally used for revision.  I designed mine more for inventory.  I wanted students to walk away knowing that Ba-Da-Bings, pitchforks, complex sentences, etc. weren't a "one and done" technique.  They are signs of good writing and should be used throughout an essay.  

The class period before, students completed a literary story.  I redistributed their writing, along with a clip board, highlighter, and clocking sheet.  Then we numbered off 1, 2, 1, get the picture. 

*If space allows, arrange desks in a circle (like a clock) with a smaller circle inside, facing the outer circle.  

**In my case, space did not allow.  So I sent my #1 students out in the hallway and told them to sit along the wall.  Then my #2 students were sent out and told to sit across from one of their classmates.  Digital clocking (ba dum cha)!

The Literary Clocking Sheet
Looking for: Where in the character standing?, What do they see?, What are they thinking?, Pitchforks, Dialogue
Students then exchanged their writing and clocking sheets.  They would add their name to the sheet and see what we were looking for first.  For literary writing, we looked for all details that described where the character was standing.  They were given three minutes to read through and mark the element they were looking for.  Lastly we totaled up and traded back.  Students were able to instantly see elements that were missing in their paper or parts of their paper that could use a little added pizzaz.  Then they would slide over to their next partner, and we would start again.

Clocking allows for timely feedback that students can quickly apply to their writing. (Do you have __ or not?  If not, add it!)  Students are engaged because they are only looking for one thing for a finite period of time.  I loved that it changed our scenery, kept students moving, and allowed them to share and respond to one another without using a ton of class time.  That, my friends, is a winner!

Download my literary and expository clocking sheets for F.R.E.E.E. here.

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