Let It Go!

Thursday, February 19, 2015
Letting the storm rage on, Lori

The state assessment gets closer and our grip over our instruction and our students grows tighter and tighter. Rather than suffocating our students, we have to find new and creative ways to engage our students in review-style activities that will help us continually assess their progress. 

Use these strategies to let it go and hand the learning to your kids to see what they can do.

Question Matrix
The Question Matrix: 
Cut this grid into small squares. Assign portions of any genre of text, and ask students to draw a square at random. They must then write a question using that stem and pose it to their group. Then you can build in time for small group discussion and listen to assess your students' progress. 

The Hot Seat:
Stop the multiple choice, drill and kill madness. You're likely looking at lots of practice passages with multiple choice. Put your paper cutter to work and cut the multiple choice questions into pieces. If you have time, you can put the questions with answer choices on index cards, but cutting it quick and ugly style will work too. It's crunch time, folks!! Put your "cards" face down in the center of a small group. After students have read a text, each member of a small group will roll a numbered cube (I hate the word die...it just sounds so weird). The student with the highest number draws first and must answer. Other group members must then give a thumbs up or thumbs down if they agree or disagree. Talk it out until the table reaches a consensus. Roll again. 

Egg Hunt

Egg Hunt:
This can be so versatile! Fill Easter eggs with tasks directed at either pre, during, or post reading skills. Deliver a basket to each table group and have them work until all eggs have been opened and completed. (As a sweet surprise, you can always drop a sweet treat into a few of the eggs).

Q&A Scavenger Hunt

Q and A Scavenger Hunt:
This sounds confusing, but it really is fun! Post 8 clues around the room and send students on a scavenger hunt. Kids can't move forward until they find the next answer. It takes a bit of work on the front end, but it is worth it. Here's a silly example using fruit. You would obviously switch these out for higher-level and content-based questions. 

Connect the Dots:
Connect the Dots
Take 4 texts...any 4 texts that you've read. Draw 4 dots in the corners of a sheet of paper. Allow students to put those titles into any of the dots. Then, the challenge is on! Students must connect the dots by finding connections between texts. For an extension, ask students to go diagonal as well.


  1. First of all, I love all of your stuff. I come to your blog regularly for inspiration. Thank you for all that you do!! I have a question, though, that has always bothered me about the Question Matrix. I've used it in my class many times and just let it be, but is the bottom row supposed to be all "mights," or a repeat of the "wills"? It always looks like a typo to me, but you may have meant it that way. Just curious. Thanks!!

    1. Gah! You're right. It is a copy/ paste oopsie. I knew I had an incorrect version floating around out there and I just grabbed it and plunked it into this post without thinking. Thanks for noticing! Use the "Contact Us" tab at the top to shoot me an email and I'll send you a corrected version.

      --Lori :)