Last month I began writing about the dilemma many teachers face this time of year. You’re sick or need to be away from your classroom and don’t want the learning in your classroom to stop just because you’re away.
Readers commented with surprise when I mentioned that 12 sick days plus 6 training days will mean students having a substitute 10% of the year! Even if you are gone fewer days than this making rigorous and easy to prep sub plans can help ensure your students don’t fall behind as you get well or grow professionally
In the first installment of this topic I introduced the idea of having students conduct short term research projects.
The steps included;
1.Select a Topic
Allowing students to select their own topic will create instant buy-in and engagement.
The research information could come from paper encyclopedias and nonfiction books, an internet search or educational videos.
After collecting information about their topics students can use tools such as powerpoint, prezzie or magazine pictures, markers and posters to organize and share their information with the class or other classroom
As a conclusion to their presentation ask students to reflect on what they know and understand now about their topic and what they want to continue to find out.
Today I’m going to explore some opportunities for students to meet some big, juicy common core literacy standards having to do with responding to text;
Having some versatile graphic organizers your students are familiar with and a rich classroom library are really going to help make these activities go smoothly with a guest teacher
Idea #1 Compare texts using a familiar graphic organizer
My 4th grade students use the tried and true Venn diagram in almost all subjects to compare and contrast ideas. It makes sense to them developmentally and they create their own in their journals without help now.
Because my students understand how the Venn diagram operates a substitute can plug any two texts into this tool and my students are ready to go. If it’s a planned absence I may select specific texts from our reading curriculum but this could easily become an activity students do with any two self selected texts.
Choosing a few versatile graphic organizers that make sense for your students now and building their confidence using them while you’re with them will help them use them when you aren’t there. I suggest having 2-3.
Idea #2 Author Study
Author studies can help solidify students’ understanding of the relationship between reading and writing, a critical literary concept. This study can be facilitated by checking out two or three of an author’s works from the school library and tucking them away in your “in case” sub plan drawer.
Students can use comparison graphic organizers to compare any number of author study questions such as author’s purpose, author’s use of word choice, author’s structure, etc.
These two ideas are low prep and approachable for guest teachers while remaining rigorous and common core aligned.
How do you encourage students to continue interacting with texts while you’re away? I’d love to hear from you.