Students Progress With Work Cards in a Mixed Ability Class
Aug 4, 2009 Teacher Training 3605 Views
Using cards and performance forms are two useful teaching techniques for encouraging struggling and reluctant readers. In a mixed ability classroom, teachers need easy to implement strategies for encouraging all individual students to progress and close any learning gaps, but especially for struggling readers who need to close their gaps in reading quickly and consistently.
Although preparing these cards requires an initial investment of time, they can be used for many years. When first introducing the use of cards in the classroom, the teacher needs to explain their purpose.
Students should understand that using learning cards provides an opportunity for each student to work at his or her own level, to choose the kind of activity her or she is interested in working on and to learn how to be independent in his/her reading and responsible for correcting his or her own work.
The following is a list of ideas of different tasks that can be used for work cards.
- Put different postage stamps on a card. Ask the student to identify what countries the stamps are from. A word bank can be supplied. Higher performing students can be asked to add the capital of the country, name of language spoken, etc.
- Read and draw. The teacher writes a description of a place or a person. The students have to draw a picture of the description.
- Things in common. Teacher gives lists of 3-4 words. The students write what the words have in common.
- Teacher makes up two lists, one of countries and the other of capitals. The students match the country with its capital city.
- Homonyms - teacher makes up two lists of homonyms. The students have to match the words that sound alike. This can also be done with opposite words and words that rhyme.
- Give a list of adjectives and words (or pictures) of different items. Ask the students to write down all the adjectives that can describe each item. Example: apple - round, red, hard.
These learning cards can be used once a week for part of a lesson; usually twenty to thirty minutes suffices. The teacher should put random piles of learning cards on two or three tables in the classroom, so that students have free access to come and choose what they would like to work on. Since these cards should include an answer key on the other side, the teacher only needs to check that the student is progressing and correctly checking his or her own work.
How to Use Performance Forms with Struggling Readers
Teachers can use performance forms to indicate what kind of individual work the student has been doing and at what level. Teachers can easily keep track of students' work by updating performance forms. Extra clues, such as definitions of the more difficult vocabulary can be provided on the other side of the card and referred to as necessary.
Here is what should be included on the performance form of the work card:
- the date
- the name of card
- the level of the card
- a 'yes' or 'no' comment if the answers to the card were corrected
- any comments - to be used for both teacher and student
The teacher can also use the comment column of the performance form to give any feedback and to guide the student in choosing those activities which will be most beneficial for his or her progress.
Using cards and performance forms are two techniques for teaching struggling readers who need to progress steadily at their own pace of learning. It is recommended that the staff work together in preparing cards and picture learning cards.The content can be adapted to suit any subject.
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