Speed Dating: The Canterbury Tales Edition

This school year, my focus has been on putting the class more into the hands of the students.  This has been partially accomplished by rejuvenating the idea of classroom blogging, but on an in-class basis, it will take much more than that.  Our first anchor text of the year is Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales.”

There are 29 pilgrims and a host, so being able to learn and understand all those characters from the prologue can be quite a daunting task.  In previous years, my initial reaction would be, read the prologue, have students take notes, and most likely have a PowerPoint presentation accompany the lesson.  SNOOZEFEST!  With my new goal of transitioning from my older, staler lesson formats,  I approached this seemingly up-hill battle by switching from teacher-led to student-led instruction.  Last year, I read a wonderful lesson plan online about utilizing the concept of speed dating with “The Canterbury Tales.”

Pre-planning for Speed Dating:

  1. Assign each student one of the pilgrims from the prologue
  2.  Read the Prologue to “The Canterbury” tales and have students take notes on their pilgrim.  I have also encouraged them to do their own research online.  A blog entry was assigned for students to describe their pilgrim in terms of profession, appearance, personality, religious devotion, and how closely they maintain the objectives of their profession.
  3. Get-To-Know-Me Assignment – Like in “olden days” when people went to video match-making services, these pilgrims needed to put together an introductory “video” of themselves introducing who they are, their goals in life, their objectives, their personality traits, hobbies, etc.  These were presented in class.

Speed Dating:

  1. I setup the room so that there were desks in pairs, lined up in rows. Students entered the room and randomly sat down.  Next year, I will probably pre-assign their seating locations to avoid talkative friends from sitting next to each other.
  2. The warm-up question required students to write 7-10 “First Date” questions.  These could be utilized during the speed dating.
  3. A chart was placed on the board that explained the people on the left would remain seated while those on the right would rotate on each 2-minute bell.
  4. I gave students a chart to fill out that made them analyze their dates based upon the following criteria:
    1. First impressions
    2. Level of compatibility
    3. Level of reliablity
    4. Chances of a second date
    5. Overall impression
  5. After the speed dating, students analyzed which pilgrim would be the most compatible with their pilgrim and which was the least.  They would need to analyze this based upon the information that they know about their dates.  Additionally, students will add textual evidence from the prologue to support their answers.  This will go on their WordPress blog.

Interactive Student Notebooks

Happy Saturday!

It’s been awhile since I have posted, and that’s nothing new to most of the readers of this blog.  I’ve learned to stop apologizing for taking much-needed breaks.  We are all human and need self-care.  The holidays are over, life has returned to “normal” and I’m ready to return to Within the Numbered Pages.

What’s New?

  • It’s 2015 and I’m keeping up on my goals of taking care of myself, listening to my body, and being more present.  I’ve also been writing in my gratitude journal on a daily basis, which I think has motivated me to stick with my 2015 goals.  I’ve gotten past the traditional family, friends, shelter, and health topics and learned to appreciate the smaller gifts.
  • I’m staying crafty and enjoying my time in my little haven.

Craft Room

In my professional life, I have become interested in learning more about Interactive Student Notebooks (ISN) and how they can support my students and their learning.

What is an Interactive Student Notebook?

The purpose of the interactive notebook is to enable students to be creative, independent thinkers and writers. Interactive notebooks are used for class notes as well as for other activities where the student will be asked to express his/her own ideas and process the information presented in class.  (interactive-notebooks)

Everybody is a Genius is another great resource for establishing an ISN.

What drew my attention to the ISN system were pins on my Pinterest dashboard that featured lessons or inserts that had been used in other content areas.  I know how important the role of connection to and hands-on interaction with manipulatives and content is to student learning, and what a clever, manageable method ISNs can be!

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Interactive Notebooks – English

Why use an ISN?

Interactive Student Notebooks is a research-based learning strategy that supports all student learning.  It incorporates:

  • High level of verbal communication between teacher and student, and among students
  • Integration of basic skills instruction with instruction in other subjects
  • Organization of instruction around themes
  • Use of collaborative learning groups

These strategies are impactful for all learners at all levels, including exceptional, gifted, those with IEPs, and ESOL/ESL students.

Additionally, ISN can be easily adapted to authentic assessments, which include:

  • Generally developed directly from classroom instruction, group work, and related classroom activities and provide an alternative to traditional assessments
  • Can be considered valid and reliable in that they genuinely and consistently assess a student’s classroom performance
  • Facilitate the student’s participating in the evaluation process
  • Include measurements and evaluations relevant to both the teacher and the student
  • Emphasize real-world problems, tasks, or applications that are relevant to the student and his or her community

ISN are one way to include peformance-based assessments:

  • Use meaningful, naturalistic, context-embedded tasks through hands-on collaborative activities
  • Show what students know and can do through a variety of assessment tasks
  • Support the language and cognitive needs of ELLs
  • Allow for flexibility in meeting individual needs
  • Use criterion-referenced assessment for judging student work
  • Provide feedback to students on strengths and weaknesses
  • Generate descriptive information that can guide instruction
  • Provide information for teaching and learning that results in improved student performance