To get students thinking critically today, we start with today's "Monday Mindbender" brain teaser with the class, projecting it on the front of the board. A spacial reasoning puzzle, today's Monday Mind Bender is copyright Mensa, and as such is not reproduced here. However, free brainteasers can be found at "A Daily Brainteaser."
Daily Holidays and Monday Mindbenders encourage a sense of student ownership and community in the classroom, and the Mindbenders nurture a bit of healthy competition as well. Students do take pride in correct answers, and provide teachable moments when they have incorrect answers.
In order to prepare for tomorrow's test on "The Great Gatsby," students will be dividing into teams of two and playing "Classroom Jeopardy," citing specific evidence from the text (RL.9-10.1), drawing on their reading and preparation in order to play the game and exchange ideas with their peers (SL.9-10.1a).
The class is split into two even teams, who pull their chairs into a circle, and provided a copy of the Directions/Rules to refer to as we play. I project these rule in the front of the room and review them with the students, so they know how the game will be played.
I do stress to students that this review is "closed book," and while they can confer with their groups, they must draw all ideas from memory.
I also ask for a volunteer to keep score, while I "host."
As noted in the directions, we go around each group, allowing them to select the category and point values posted on the Jeopardy Board, and questions/answers are read from the list of "answers". Students provide the question for each item, and do discuss their responses with their group. Each of these items directly references material that will appear on the unit test.
By reviewing as a game, students are engaged, and can test their own knowledge as well as draw from each other for ideas. Students are permitted to take notes as we review, and will be given a copy of the review answers and questions at the end of class.
Students will be taking a unit test that incorporates writing about close reading and critical viewing, as well as multiple-choice questions in class. By providing an assessment that both uses the new skills we have addressed in this unit and the more traditional testing, I can assess students in multiple ways. Additionally, the multiple-choice assessment allows students to practice question-reading for the state assessment as well.
Though I do not require elaboration from students providing responses to each of the game prompts, in the past I have prompted students to explain or elaborate as "Daily Double" or "Final Jeopardy" questions.
For example, after identifying the green light for "Symbolism: Things and Motifs for 100" students may explain how the green light develops over the course of the text, and provide evidence to summarize its meaning at different points (RL.9-10.2).
Or, after identifying the incorrect theme for "Thematic Elements 300," students may be required to elaborate on how Gatsby, Myrtle, and George's fates advance and develop the idea that "love is NOT all you need" (RL.9-10.3).
How the groups go about answering this is up to the host (teacher), I have allowed students to confer with groups or required them to be answered by the individual whose turn it is. The correctness of the answer is entirely up to the host (teacher).
With two minutes remaining, I remind students to study for tomorrow's test, and let them know if they have any additional questions, they can email me.