Sunday, September 29, 2013

The M&M Guys and Fun Test Prep?

The M&M guys were a hit and they look grate.  Um, I mean great.  I have been having as much fun as the students with these homophone lessons.  We used these M&M guys for homographs (Thanks to Mrs. Russ).  I created this flower/flour one for homonyms.

I used this as a time to review how to make detailed, descriptive sentences.  I told students that if you try to have your sentence answer at least 5 out of the 6 5W and H questions, you're sure to have an excellent sentence.  I chose the most difficult homophones I could find in order to step it up to a seventh grade level. I plan to hang these all over the classroom.


Everyone loves a good joke especially when it's because of a confusion with the words. Using Pam Dahm's idea at Chit Chat and Small Talk, I had students create jokes for other homonyms that they did not use in their M&M guys.  The task was quite difficult based on the difficulty of the words and trying to make them funny.

I expected my test prep day to be the worse, most dull day of the year! Amazingly, it was actually fun once squirrels were involved.  Even though we all hate tests and don't like to teach to a test, tests are part of our entire lives. I explained how to do a process of elimination on multiple choice tests and exactly how they work.  The question of the day was why are they made that way.  A great question that I didn't have an answer to except that it's the format.  (BTW I hate MC tests!) Once I explained that this technique can work every day in all classes that give these kinds of tests, they were more interested.

We had a great discussion about all the tests you have to take your entire life.  Getting your license, getting into college, getting into graduate school even though you have four years of college behind you, and if you want to be a licensed plumber or electrician.  They couldn't believe that you had to take tests to be a plumber!

I told them about my experience having to take the MATs.  They were very curious once I told them that I only had sixty minutes to answer 120 analogies.  I told them you need a game plan.  I stressed how important it is to have a game plan when going in for any test.  "What was your game plan?" they asked.  It was to answer all the ones I immediately knew, go back to figure out all the others, and review all of them.  In the end, I had 10 minutes to spare.  Their mouths were wide open in shock that I had time left! I stressed that a game plan always helps.

Once we started to review the questions and the poem, the "real" fun started once we got to the question about what "in a frenzy" meant in reference to squirrels.  We realized we were able to find the answer in just thinking about all we knew about squirrels without needed the poem.  One of the choices was that they were "cautious".  Everyone shouted out that they weren't cautious at all by darting into the streets and walking on wires.  They loved my impersonation of a squirrel looking both ways to cross the street.  Next, we talked about the "worried" choice not being good either since it's a human trait.  They were laughing at the thought of the squirrel worried getting enough food for the winter or worried about anything.

I was elated that my week ended with fun and not the boring that I was expecting.  Thank you squirrels!

No comments:

Post a Comment