Early Finishers?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by MsMar, Nov 1, 2008.

  1. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Nov 1, 2008

    I teach an elective at a very large high school. The academic abilities of my students vary greatly. I have everything from new to this country and is just learning English, to reads at 6th grade level, to reads at 9th grade level, to could be reading college material. Needless to say when I give an assignment to read and have a written response to go with it, I have some students done way before others. So, since I don't want my students who need more time to have to rush or constantly have to finish it for homework (which some of them still do, even with more time) what can I do with my early finishers?

    So far this year my early finishers are quite cooperative, meaning they don't disrupt the class or decide to take a nap. Often they'll pull out a novel of some sort or pretty much just sit there, maybe talk quietly to someone else at their table who also finished. Although they're not being disruptive, clearly this situation is not ideal. So I'm looking for suggestions.

    One idea I got from my hubby who also teaches high school is to come up with some sort of an "extra credit" project that they can work on when they finish other assignments early. I'm going to play around with that idea to see what I can come up with.

    Any other thoughts? I teach Intro to Foods and Nutrition. Thanks for any suggestions!
     
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  3. forchange

    forchange Rookie

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    Nov 1, 2008

    1) Make reading an expectation. The plus is that they can -all- read something, so it's easily differentiated and you'll be a favorite with the English teachers.

    2) Have them peer tutor. Kids like the responsibility and as long as you are clear about what this means (quiet and NOT giving the other student the answer), both kids will benefit.

    3) Have magazines or books that relate to Food and Nutrition and graphic organizers that they can complete about the reading when they're done for extra credit (if the project idea is too hard to manage, although that sounds like more fun).
     
  4. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Nov 1, 2008

    The ones who are getting done earlier are likely your more advanced students, so I like the idea of peer tutoring as long as its workable in your room. Otherwise, I would tell them you expect to have a book to read.
     
  5. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Nov 1, 2008

    Sorry, I wasn't clear. I do have everyone read, and I modify the assignment for my ELL kids. I have thought about the peer tutoring but haven't officially tried it. Some of the kids have actually taken the initiative to do it a couple of times when someone was obviously stuck. I have a couple specific students in mind who this could work well with though. I'm going to give some thoughts on how to best do it.

    I thought of the magazine thing too. I know we have copies of Gourmet and Cooking Light I could use from another teacher so an article response thing is an option. My main worry about that one is too much time spent just flipping through the magazine as opposed to actually reading it.

    Thanks for the tips!
     
  6. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Yup, a lot of them do have their own personal book they read, which is good in the sense that they're reading which is obviously both good educationally as well as being non-disruptive. The only issue is that's it's totally unrelated to my class, so that's the one thing I don't really like about it.

    As I mentioned in my reply above, I do think I can have the peer tutoring work. At least in my first block class. I have three ELL students in it and definitely two students I can think of off the top of my head that I think would be good tutors.
     
  7. Luv2Learn

    Luv2Learn Companion

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    Nov 1, 2008

    Considering the fact that they are spending this time in a nondisruptive manner, I would hesitate to make too much of an issue. Maybe you can provide some additional reading on your subject if you don't want them reading their personal books.
     
  8. ELA 11 12

    ELA 11 12 Companion

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    Nov 1, 2008

    That's a tough situation. Can you create assignments that have levels of accomplishment? If you get this done, you get 100, if you get this you get...?

    Make it challenging enough so student must work hard for a passing grade.

    Try designing assignments so that they are based on Blooms Taxonomy. Reaching evaluation and clearly communicating that ability should be the highest grade. Students who reach

    1. Knowledge: arrange, define, duplicate, label, list, memorize, name, order, recognize, relate, recall, repeat, reproduce state. (50%)
    2. Comprehension: classify, describe, discuss, explain, express, identify, indicate, locate, recognize, report, restate, review, select, translate, (60%)
    3. Application: apply, choose, demonstrate, dramatize, employ, illustrate, interpret, operate, practice, schedule, sketch, solve, use, write. (70%)
    4. Analysis: analyze, appraise, calculate, categorize, compare, contrast, criticize, differentiate, discriminate, distinguish, examine, experiment, question, test. (80%)
    5. Synthesis: arrange, assemble, collect, compose, construct, create, design, develop, formulate, manage, organize, plan, prepare, propose, set up, write. (90%)
    6. Evaluation: appraise, argue, assess, attach, choose compare, defend estimate, judge, predict, rate, core, select, support, value, evaluate. (100%)
    (source: http://www.officeport.com/edu/blooms.htm. 9/1/08)

    If you do this for all those short assignments, more students will work for longer periods, but all will be successful. It may take a couple of years, but eventually, you won't have this problem and all students will successfully pass your class.
     

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