Tag Archives: grading and assessment

The Great Debaters: Lesson 8

Finally, here is the eighth and last lesson plan of “The Great Debaters” unit plan here on Mark’s Text Terminal. This is the assessment; I sought to create a document that measures thinking and memory rather than students’ ability to get the “right answer.” I wanted students to think about the readings, the movie, and, indeed, their own impressions and thinking about the unit’s content. This is my attempt (and I’ll concede happily and readily that it could use improvement, so by all means–and please!–chime in with your comments on this) to create a metacognitive assessment. I want students, again, to think about their thinking, especially in the way they used their prior knowledge of the real-life figures in the film better to understand the film itself.

I open this lesson with this context clues worksheet on the noun cognition; if the lesson goes into a second day–and I planned that it would–here is another on the noun metacognition. I would like students to walk away from this lesson with knowledge of metacognitive assessments, which I think, and research supports, are an important way of helping students to internalize and commit to memory the contents of this or any unit plan.

And, finally, here is the final assessment worksheet itself. I think there are any number of ways to use this. I prefer to conduct this as a group discussion and note-taking exercise during which students can range freely over the material and their reactions to it. Like just about everything else on this blog, this document is in Microsoft Word, so you can alter it to you and your students’ needs and circumstances.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

The Weekly Text, January 24, 2019: A Trove of Documents for Teaching Lord of the Flies

On January 6, I published 56 documents for teaching Chinua Achebe’s masterpiece Things Fall Apart.  In last week’s Text, I published a similar set of documents for teaching Elie Wiesel’s Night.

This week’s Text is a batch of documents for teaching William Golding’s Lord of the FliesI wrote these materials, but never marshalled them into a coherent unit plan, over a two-year period beginning a little over 12 years ago; after that, I never used them again, so it has been about ten years since I laid eyes on this stuff. In any case, let’s get these documents uploaded into this post.

Because I was working in global studies and United States history classrooms at the the same time that I was co-teaching the English class dealing with this novel, I perceived instantly that Golding’s novel was Thomas Hobbes’s “state of nature” nightmare, where life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” For that reason, I asked the English teacher with whom I was teaching to make an explicit connection between Hobbes and Lord of the Flies. To that end, here is a reading on Hobbes and its (extended, you’ll notice, if you’ve previously picked up these things from Mark’s Text Terminal) accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. I also wrote, to follow up on students’ understanding of the Hobbesian dystopia depicted in Lord of the Flies, this independent practice worksheet that I suspect I would have assigned at about the middle of the novel. The reading and worksheet above began the unit, I’m quite sure.

Next, here are 12 context clues worksheets–one for each chapter. I’m not sure why I compiled this complete vocabulary list for the novel, let alone kept it around. Perhaps I intended them as a learning support? I just don’t remember. I have learned the hard way not to throw away work, no matter how pointless or useless it appears at second glance, so that explains that document’s presence here.

These 12 comprehension worksheets drive a basic understanding of Lord of the Flies and its allegory.

Finally, here are three quizzes on the novel. You will note that these are numbered 2, 3, and 4. If there was ever a number 1, it is lost to time. Also, these aren’t exactly some of my best work, and may well reflect my contempt for my co-teacher’s (and the administrator under whom we served) insistence on quizzes as an assessment tool. I vastly prefer expository writing–i.e. papers–as a means of assessing understanding.

And that’s it. Every document in this post is in Microsoft Word, so these are documents you can manipulate for your own–and your students’–needs.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

George Hillocks on What to Grade and Why

“It is counterproductive, if not unethical, to teach toward one specific target of learning and grade learners on another.”

Excerpted from: Hillocks, GeorgeTeaching Argument Writing, Grades 6-12: Supporting Claims with Relevant Evidence and Clear Reasoning. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2011.