Raising The Bar With Recast

Friday, February 21, 2014
brought to you by Lori

It's the final day of our series...

When I was in college, I took only the math courses that I needed. Not only that, but I went to tutorials and I practiced formulas again and again and again. Repetition was the name of my game. But come test day, if the professor changed any little thing about the process, I was up a creek. I never owned the process. I didn't know why I knew what I knew or what I didn't know. My problem with complex math was [and still is] transfer. The same is true for our students when we think about their ability to read across genres, to play with organizational arrangements within their own writing or within the writing of a peer.

Introducing your 10th and final review strategy...recast! Recast sounds confusing, but let me explain. It is a thinking stragegy that directly supports transfer. Students will transform information by manipulating organizational patterns or changing scenarios. It is really a more of a planning strategy in that you decide what you need your kids to recast. Consider these options that are guaranteed to challenge your students.

READING--This is an extension of Nine Squares that I absolutely love. It's great for review because students must think of multiple choice questions in terms of details, inferences, and themes. Additionally, they must read a text carefully enough in order to complete the task. I combed through the released English I and English II reading tests to find questions that asked specific questions about inference, detail, and theme. There are quite a few, so I know it's important for my kids to be able to do this. You can download them here and use them after you've run the Nine Square activity. 

Two options for recast:
  • I printed them on sheets of colored paper and gave them to my kids to complete in teams of two. It makes for a nice gallery walk where students answer those questions generated by other teams.
  • Suz chose the printer setting to get 4 to a page so that they were smaller and could be easily passed from group to group.

WRITING--Present your kids with a single sentence. Gretchen Bernabei truisms would work well. For example perhaps the truism says: Few things are more important than family.

Now it's time to recast:

  1. Kernel a fictional story with the truism as the theme.
  2. Kernel an expository essay with that same truism as the thesis statement.
  3. Kernel a persuasive essay with that same truism as the thesis statement. Be sure to include a counterargument.
  4. For advanced students, write a poem with that same truism as the central message.

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