Friday, December 30, 2016

Bibliography Bootcamp

My fifth grade language arts teachers recently asked me to teach a lesson on how to create bibliographies of the sources their students used during their nonfiction writing unit.  Since this topic is challenging for many fifth graders, I wanted to develop an engaging lesson that would encourage them to approach bibliographies with confidence.  So I instructed our fifth graders to report to Bibliography Boot Camp.

When students came to the media center, they lined up outside and waited for me to give directions.  I greeted students by yelling that my name was Sergeant Lewis and that they had arrived at Bibliography Boot Camp.  I told them this would be the hardest 45 minutes of their life and I didn't expect many of them to make it to the end.  However, if students were up for the challenge, they were instructed to march into the media center and stand in formation.

In the media center, I taught students a military cadence (borrowed from my very creative media specialist friend), which they repeated after me.

I don't know but it's been said
Cite the sources that you've read!
Give the credit where it's due.
If you don't, they'll come for you!
Sound off!
1, 2
Sound off!
3, 4
Sound off!
1, 2, 3, 4

Next we discussed what a bibliography is and why it is so important to the cite sources we use in research.  I gave each student a booklet that they could keep as a reference after our lesson.  The booklet also provided lines for students to practice writing entries during the lesson.  Then I explicitly taught students how to create bibliography entries for the types of sources they use most often.  I made sure to show students where they should look within each source to locate the necessary information.  We started with print books and then continued to websites, online database articles, and encyclopedias.  After I taught students each type of entry, they practiced creating an entry in their booklets.  To simplify this step, I selected resources in advance that they would be likely to use based on their research topics.  For books, students selected a book from a stack of nonfiction books I pulled.  For websites, I linked several sites to the media center site.  And I showed an article from Grolier Online for online database articles.  Although encyclopedia articles are included in the booklet, I did not have time to teach students how to create this type of entry during our 45 minute lesson.

After students completed a bibliography entry correctly, they were instructed to participate in a physical activity.  Prior to the lesson, I borrowed some cardio workout stations from my physical education teachers and spread these out around the media center.  When students were given permission to train, they selected a cardio station and followed the directions to complete the activity.  After all students successfully created the required entry, we reassembled as a group and moved on to the next type of bibliography entry. 


"Accept the challenges, so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory."
-General George S. Patton

Click below to download the presentation I used during the lesson.

Bibliography Boot Camp from Jennifer Lewis

And click here to download the booklet I created to give students during the lesson.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Using Microsoft Forms to Assess Reading Comprehension

I recently created multiple choice reading comprehension quizzes for each of the Georgia Children's Book Award nominees using Microsoft Forms.  Our Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl team reads these titles.  The quizzes are a useful tool to determine which books were read and understood by which team members.  We will use the results of the quizzes to help select which students compete at our competition in January.

Using Microsoft Forms for reading comprehension quizzes offers many benefits!  It is very easy to use (for both teachers and students) and offers the option to quickly check students' scores.  Here is how I create reading comprehension quizzes using Microsoft Forms in just a few easy steps!

Open your Office 365 account and select Forms.  The dashboard shows all of the quizzes you have created.  To create a new quiz, select "New" in the upper left corner.

First assign a title to your new quiz.  I use the title of the book and the author for reading comprehension quizzes.  You can also add a picture of the book cover by selecting the picture icon to the right.  Next select "Add question."  Forms allows you to choose from five different types of questions.  For this type of Form, select "Quiz."  With a quiz question, you provide multiple choices and designate one of the choices as the right answer so that the quiz grades itself after students finish the last question.

Next, add your question and answer choices.  Forms defaults to two answer choices, but you can add more.  Be sure to select the "Correct answer" so that the quiz is self-grading.  Also move the slider at the bottom to "Required" so that students can't accidentally skip questions.  Repeat these steps as needed until your quiz contains all of the necessary questions.

 This is what the Form looks like in the creator's view once it has been completed.

Forms also allows you the option to
  • customize the look of the quiz with different themes
  • download a QR code that takes the user to the quiz
  • create a link so that you can email the quiz to students or link it to your website
  • set a deadline for taking the quiz
  • export results to for easy student data documentation