The Challenging Case of Fast Finishers in a Mixed Ability Class

We all have more motivated, fast thinking students in our classes. Often we feel guilty that they can’t advance more as they wait for their classmates to finish the tasks given. I got the idea of more tasks for fast finishers from Pinterest pins. Some teachers prepared posters for them, some had jars with reviewing activities. I liked the idea of the jar but  as I move from class to class, it’s difficult for me to carry a jar along with my huge pencil case. Therefore I decided to have an envelope and fill in with creative writing ideas. I prepared colorful pieces of paper and index cards with topics to write. Even with younger learners, I started collecting wonderful paragraphs. Now I’m planning to have a fast finishers corner in the classrooms to showcase these good examples and praise their work.

Some of the writing activities on my cards are 

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5 tools I’ll use in 2014

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Flipped Classroom, Blended Learning, techy tools … These have been in our lives for a few years. Everyday we come across with a new tool, a new site a new idea that we can use in our classes.

I just discovered the following tools and I’m planning to give them a try in the New Year.

#1 Buncee is another web-based content creation tool. You can add in photos, videos, audio, text, drawings and more. You can ask your students to create their projects on Buncee or you can create your lessons online.

#2 Todaysmeet is another tool that I’ll try in 2014. TodaysMeet gives you a  room where you can connect with your audience. Your audience doesn’t have to register or know anything about technology. You can create a room and decide how long it will be open for. You can ask a question and ask your students answer it before you start a lesson, it can be used to brainstorm or after reading a book, story or watching a movie, you can ask your students to give their opinion or discuss certain questions or even play trivia pursuit in class if you have iPads or a computer lab in the school.

#3 Edcanvas is now Blendspace and is another web-based content creation tool. You can add content from the web or your desktop directly so you can add a powerpoint or a pdf file easily to your canvas. Once finished, you can share it, embed it or print it.

#4 Journal Jar is a site that I’m planning to use as a warm-up tool or it may even come handy when I finish early. On the site, you’ll see a jar. When you click “shake”, you’ll be given a writing topic. You can set time limits and ask your students to write short paragraphs until you shake the jar for the next question or  tell them they will speak for a minute on the given topic.

#5 Padlet, AKA wallwisher, an old friend with new features, an online noticeboard where you can add your ideas on little sticky notes and then print out the document or save it as a pdf file on your computer.

 

 

 

Creative Guided Story Writing

 

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I’d like to share a guided writing activity that I adapted for my classes.

Give students a card and ask them to read the instructions.

Tell them they are going to invent a story about what happened to the characters on their cards.

Give them the pre-prepared questions and ask them to answer the questions Tell them these questions will guide them to write their stories. They may add any additional parts to their stories.

You can even give them the characters from the novels or short stories. It can even be a good pre reading activity for a story unit.

I prepared a Google document for the instructions and another for the questions and I’ll add more when I come up with an interesting idea. May I also invite you to add your instructions and questions?

Note: You can prepare your cards on powerpoint slides and save them as JPEG, print and laminate them for many uses.

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Yes ! Language is a virus :)

Have you come across this hilarious site.?

 

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“Every day, write a letter that will never be sent to a person who does or does not exist, or to a number of people who do or do not exist.”

The sentence I copied and pasted from Language is a Virus is a writing task. Isn’t it very creative?

If you visit the site you will find writing games, text generators, writing tasks, poetry guide and really cool writing exercises.

I tried some of them and I’m now thinking this site will be a place where I will visit very often in the next school year.