The day's lesson is a review of the concepts taught and practiced during the poetry unit where the students will compete in groups. Once again, I begin the class by asking the students to reflect and self-analyze. I have the students rate themselves on a scale of 1-5 in order to help guide me in determining the groups for the day. I put the Rating Scale on the SmartBoard for the students to refer to. In order to make this as fair as possible, I use the student self-evaluations in order to even out the groups as best I can.
During this round, students will take turns representing their group in a rotation format. Each group has a small dry erase board for the student participating to write his or her answer on. I keep track of the scores on the front board throughout. I love this format, and the kids do as well, because it is competitive and requires active engagement. By working both independently (on behalf of their respective teams) and collaboratively, the students are able to support one another and demonstrate individual mastery.
The questions I include in this round are the easier and less complex ones from the Poetry Assessment, with terminology and basic concepts typically making up the bulk of the material. For this round, the students will take turns in their respective groups as the person responsible for answering each question. At this time, they are not allowed to help one another. For instance, we have a team of Jennifer, Jane, John, and Jack. Jennifer responds first, Jane second, John third, and finally, Jack takes a turn. Then we rotate back through, in the same order.
Round two follows the same format in that each student takes a turn answering for the group in a rotation. In this round however, the questions (still from the Poetry Assessment document) are more based in analysis and application. In round two, each question is also worth double points. I never take points away during rounds one and two for an incorrect answer. This helps to keep the competition a bit closer and more competitive, but it also keeps struggling students from feeling overwhelmed and giving up.
In the final round, the students are expected to work with their groups to reach consensus on an answer. The round begins with each group selecting a wager amount using only the total amount of points they have accumulated, meaning each group can wager as few as zero points and as much as they have total.
I ask the question, determined at random, and give the groups 60 seconds to write down their answer on the dry erase board. I then have them hold them up, so I am able to see who answered correctly. In this round, the points wagered either add to the total, when the answer is correct, or are taken out of the total, when the answer is incorrect. For most classes, it is an application situation where I read the poem to them, ask the question, re-read the poem, and the repeat the question.
The groups are rewarded with pride, not prize. I try to make sure they just feel good about winning, rather than expecting something for it.