Here’s another idea I snagged from Melissa Reeve and Jose Cortes at their AB705 implementation workshop last Friday. It’s a great activity for getting students to synthesize information from various readings. Even if you’re only working with one text, it’s still a useful post-reading activity to help students discuss themes that surface in a text.
Before doing this activity, you’ll want to have read and worked with a couple of different texts. You’ll also want to have your essay prompt in mind, so you can tailor this activity to help students build toward the assignment. To set up this activity, do the following:
1. Create posters like the examples below that each include a statement at the top to focus students on various themes or ideas from the readings. Each poster should have a different statement at the top. Below that, add a column for a quote and a column for an explanation as to why the quote is important.
2. Divide the class into the same number of groups as you have posters.
3. Tell each group to take the texts and go up to a poster. Ask them to find and add a quote from one of the readings that relates to the statement on the top of the poster. Tell them to also explain why they chose that quote.
4. Give students a set amount of time at each poster and then have each group rotate to another poster and repeat.
5. Once each group has rotated through each of the posters, give each student a few sticky notes.
6. Tell the class to walk around and read through the information on each poster. Tell them to write down any personal experiences, ideas, or thoughts they have about things on the poster. The purpose of this part of the activity is to help spark ideas. If student A reads something from student B’s experience, it may remind student A of something that is related that could be used in writing. It also provides a dedicated time for students to read through the posters and further process the texts.
7 After this activity, leave the posters up in the classroom for students to refer to as they work on their writing assignment. You could also take pictures and post to your LMS.
Why try this?
This activity will get your students thinking deeply about the readings and the themes in them. Students will be practicing speaking skills as they work with their classmates to decide which quote to choose and what to write about it. Requiring students to explain why they chose a particular quote will take their understanding to the next level and get them set up to start writing their essays. Although this activity doesn’t take too much effort to set up, it’s a great way to engage the class and grow various types of language and academic skills.