A Summarizing Game that will Challenge and Excite

Do you shudder when it comes to getting your students to summarize?  Summarizing anything; a story, movie, or even what they did last night and still the kids moan and groan…maybe not out loud, but they do. It’s not something most anyone likes to do, even me!  My husband loves me , and too often even  I hear …”cut to the chase, Sue!”

A while back, I found myself reading a blog about summarizing, just by chance.  Today, I wish I had written the blog author’s name so I could given the writer credit for such a great idea.  Friends, if you recognize the blogger’s idea and know their name, please leave me a comment so I can give them credit.

Any who, back to the idea!!!  The author called it “Inside, Outside.”   On your SMARTboard or whiteboard, draw a large circle and a second much smaller circle inside the first.  Locate the second circle in the middle of the first circle.

So here ‘s where the summarizing comes in!  We have worked to summarize since the first week of school.  I have encouraged the students to use fewer words and concentrate on the important events in whatever we have been reading.  I have the students put their summary on a small post-it note.  Nooww, here’s how the game works!

Each student puts their post-it note on the whiteboard outside the large circle when they finish…no name, but I know each of my kids’ handwriting…they just don’t know that.  I then read each post-it out loud and the class decides where the post-it note belongs.  The better the summary, the closer to the inner circle goes the post-it.  Those notes the students decide have missed the big idea(s) may not enter the larger circle.  The picture below shows that several summaries hit the bull’s eye…voted by the class.img_11461

The kids LOVE this game and part of it is the fact that THEY are deciding where the summary goes, not me.  I do occasionally use a veto if I feel the class has been unduly harsh is voicing their opinion as to where the post-it should be located.

It’s a quick and easy check to identify those students who are still having trouble finding the big ideas…note those who are still on the line or completely outside the large circle.  So the work continues on summarizing and my students continue to ask to play to game!

Love,

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New Year’s Is A Time For Change

I’ve never been one of those folks who sit down on Dec. 31 and make all kinds of “promises” about changes I planned to make in the coming New Year.  So why the title?  Wellll…I can explain.

As some of you may know, I have a store, Susan Mescall, at a great website, TeacherspayTeachers.com.  While I may not be making any changes, I have started looking at my store products and noticing that some of my earlier products need a makeover…in other words…A CHANGE!

One of my favorites is  “Thoughts On Paper”. I created the product when several of my students told me they had no idea who Robert Louis Stevenson was! Say Whaaat?  I first read “Kidnapped” when I was in the 7th grade and I made my way through his books when I was in middle school. It really concerned me that my students had heard of the book, but had no idea about the author.  My product became a way to share a bit of biography about both well-known and lesser known people who, I felt, had had a positive influence on those around them.

Within my product, I have a variety of people and their words of wisdom.  I have included such well-known people as Oprah Winfrey, and Mohammed Ail.  I have also included lesser known people as Jaime Escalante and Marva Collins.  Imagine my dismay, when I took another look at my early product and discovered errors in grammar and the fact I no longer liked the look of my product.  So I have spent New Year’s Eve changing, and hopefully you’ll agree, improving my product.

I changed the name to “Journal Responses for Students”.  I have taken out the clip art and made the pages and font larger.  I have also enlarged the author’s picture and updated information.

My product went from the left cover to the right cover.  So I guess you can say that Change is in the air today!!!

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You can get to my “new” and “improved” product by simply clicking on the new cover.  Take a look and let me know what you think!  Please leave me feedback if you decide to make it your own.

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A Teacher Gift Your Students Will Treasure All Year!

In years past, I have struggled with what to give my students for gifts.  I usually defaulted to candy and pencils.  Such gifts didn’t break the bank of a first year teacher, but it wasn’t really what my students wanted. However, they took the bags with a smile. Flash forward to my first year at a new school and my usual teacher gift of candy and pencils just weren’t going to do the trick as many of my students weren’t all that crazy about sweets or needed extra pencils. What to do, what to do? Continue reading

How To Conquer The Early Finisher Syndrome

We’ve all been there…It’s small group and station or center time.  You are in the middle of small group when you hear them!!! Those words of horror… “I’m done!  What can I do now?”  What do you do?  Sweat pops out between your shoulder blades and your mind goes blank.

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Restoring Hope For Flooded Louisiana Teachers

On August 11th, 2016, a stationary weather system resulted in torrential downpours with upwards of two feet of rain that devastated several parishes across South Louisiana. The extreme amount of rainwater, close to 7.1 trillion gallons of water, caused rivers, lake, and other bodies of water to reach and exceed flood stages in the following days. In the blink of an eye, the water began rising and encroaching upon not just areas that typically flood, but the flooding waters found their way to places that had never even had the threat of flooding before. The widespread devastation of the rising water quickly destroyed countless homes, businesses, and schools.
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Teachers…Overwhelmed? Stressed? Help is on the way!

It’s the start of a new school year…excitement, challenges, classroom set-up, professional development, meetings, forms, IEPs, standards, meetings,  weekly or daily focus walls, lesson plans to be submitted weeks in advance, meetings, classroom management plans, etc.  You get my drift!  You begin to feel lost in maze of meetings and  a jungle of forms that all needed to be turned in yesterday!  And it’s only the few first weeks of school!!! YIKES!

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My Mistakes Will Make You A Better Teacher!

 

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And so it begins!!!

It’s Back to School time!!!  I am pulling out my list of things to get done before school starts and here is the first thing I put on my To-Do list!!!

Whether you are a brand new teacher entering your first classroom or a veteran teacher, there are always mistakes made, that if you aren’t careful, will  have you wondering if you chose the right career!!!  Read on…

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