In this pdf, I’ve included examples of analysis questions for two different line graphs. Both of these are for the elementary level. For each set of questions, I’ve also included a large size of the graph that you can project and/or give students as they work to answer these questions.
Remember the Success Sequence: Draw, Talk, Write. Have the students use the visual and talk about the answers – preferably in a structured way as you call out the question. Then have students write about the graph.
One of the simplest things you can do to help students think deeply about visual material is to write analysis questions for the different types of visuals you use with students. This example is for bar graphs – and I’ve included two examples to give you an idea of how these questions might look. (I’ll be adding a whole series of analysis questions for different types of visuals, so be sure to check back often and/or subscribe to this blog.)
After students talk about the information in the graphs, based on the guiding questions you provide, have them write a summary of what the graph says. You can make this a short and sweet summary that uses bullet statements or you can have students write a full paragraph. When you give students a chance to talk about the questions BEFORE having them write, they’ll do a much better job with the summary.
Use the graphs. Get students talking about the information in the graphs. Watch them develop deeper understanding because you guided them through deeper thinking of the material. And as always, don’t forget to add your own good questions. You may even want to add some here!
This is a response technique to give students practice in answering recall and some critical thinking types of questions. Rapid Response Cards are any type of response cards you use with your students. They are called Rapid Response Cards because they are a quick way to obtain responses from all of the students in your class at one time. You can ask a question and have everyone hold up an answer. This is a terrific way to assess students on the questions you ask. This is a quick and effective technique to use when you want to check for understanding. Prepare a master set of response cards – use black ink on bright yellow cardstock for cards that are easy to see. (You may even want to laminate the response cards so that they will “wear” well.)
If you write paper-and-pencil assessments, you’re going to love these sheets that I call Stem Starters. Stem Starters are ideas of ways to write item stems for test items. Think of these as handy reference sheets for those times when you are writing item stems – the question part of a test item.
I’ve designed Stem Starters for each of the four core content areas including Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. If you teach any other content area, just look at all of the sheets for ideas.
If you’ve ever worked with me, you know the importance I place on the content that students learn. Of course we want students to think deeply, but we want them to think deeply about something – the content we want them to learn. Here’s another example of a content card – this one for fourth-grade mathematics. This one is for measuring length in U.S. customary units. A content card for measuring length in metric units will be next. Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog and you’ll automatically be notified when I make any posts.
I’ve also included a list of analysis questions for this content card. Remember that the purpose of the analysis questions is to help students learn to work with the information on the card. There are two pages to the following download.
A part of developing curriculum is that of determining core vocabulary a student needs in order to learn the concepts we want them to learn. How important are words?
Take a look at this list of words I once shared with a group of Earth Science teachers. I asked teachers to take the list and circle the words they had confidence their students would know at the moment in timeI asked them to do the task. The time of the year was late spring – and just weeks away from a state test that students would be taking.
I also asked teachers to count the number of words they circled and figure out the percent of words they thought their students knew. (This is an easy one since I put one hundred words on the list.) We then looked at the data.
In a room of forty three teachers, not one indicated that their own students would know over fifty percent (50%) of the words on the list. Now why is this important? Because these words came from a state test; from the released test items for Earth Science for the prior year’s end-of-course test. Now why is that important? If students do not know the words, they will not perform well on the test – whether it’s a state test or one of your own. And guess whose job it is to make sure students learn the words? That’s right – the classroom teacher, who hopefully teachers the words and related concepts in a direct and explicit way.
So here’s what I like to do. Whenever I develop vocabulary lists, I like to look at the content words from released test items. This is not the only place to go, but it is one source of developing solid lists. If you haven’t done this yet for the tests for which you are accountable, give it a try. Just go through each test item and circle all of the content words that students need to know in order to answer the questions. Then use those words to refine your own vocabulary lists. You’ll end up with lists that you really like to use.