Who says quizzes and drills can only be through written activities? Pop quizzes have now widely gained a fearsome reputation among our students because of the nature of the drills themselves–they are tests on paper that cater only to the linguistically intelligent.
Nowadays teachers must shift their focus on those students who are always left behind drill after drill, just because their minds aren’t predisposed to maximize learning through written quizzes. There are actually several ways to testing that spell F-U-N. A lot more ideas for Walk Two Moons can even be conjured by the teacher during literature units covering the novel, since more character intricacies and themes are present in the plot.
This book by Sharon Creech involves layers of themes hidden in layers of character personalities. Here are some of my ways to assess students that I used in my reading laboratory sessions.
Class Battle of the Minds
Each student brings a small white board, marker, and eraser. The quiz questions are to be dictated by teacher, after which students scribble the answers on their white boards. After the allotted time, students raise their boards, and the teacher tallies the scores on a giant tally sheet. Once the teacher finishes with the last item, the top three scorers will proceed to a bonus clincher round containing extra-difficult questions.
Being naturals at heated competition, students find this method very appealing, challenging, and far from boring. Moreover, students just love the honor of being in the final three of the class. The students are all the more motivated to read the book and ace the next Battle of the Minds to make it to the next list of Battle Champions.
Give the pop quiz items by flashing pictures of the characters of the novel. These pictures should be the art pieces of students from your previous differentiated group activities involving character illustration/interpretation. As you read a question about a certain character, flash the character’s picture for everyone to see. This greatly helps the visual learners in the class in remembering essential concepts about character personalities. At the same time, the artists responsible for the beautiful drawings being showcased in class feel affirmed, and affirmation leads to motivation and a growing feeling of fondness for the lessons where they got the affirmation.
The students gather in a circle. They are then to draw a strip of paper containing the name of a character. The task of each student is to portray the character of the person s/he picked using famous lines, gestures, and non-verbal expressions distinctive of that particular character. As the student acts for one minute, the rest of the class jots down on their respective papers what character they think is being portrayed. This goes on until the last person in the class acts out his character. This activity is particularly appealing to the performers in class who just love the admiration and affirmation they get out of their classmates cheering for them and getting the answers correct because of their precise acting.
Crossword puzzles are always a hit among students. These puzzles add a hint of informality on a written quiz, making answering fun and light as a Sunday morning crossword session. The challenge to complete the words using clues prevails more than the anxiety brought about by a typical written quiz. The internet is full of free crossword puzzle generator tools that make the teacher’s task in creating a puzzle easier.
Always put your students first when you plan lessons, asking yourself what styles best suit the individuals in the classroom. For a list of sample questions you can download and use in your quizzes, click here.
This post is part of the series: Classroom activities for Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
These series presents ideas on differentiated activities, group dynamics, and assessment guides that you can use as you discuss Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech–a Newbery book popular among our young readers today.