Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Reading Response and Forms Revisited

Last May I used and blogged about Google Forms as a reading centre for reading response. Last year I ended my post with thoughts on my next steps: I am going to be teaching an integrated science (about insects and the like) and language arts unit soon. I've been working on creating a number of forms to go with animal book sets. A year later I am revising and refining the integrated science-language arts unit. 

Reading Centres

As a Balanced Literacy trained teacher, I use reading centres in my class most weeks. When creating centres, I look for activities that are engaging and independent tasks that have an element of accountability built in. The combination of Google Forms with Flubaroo provides me engagement, independence (for most students) and accountability.

The Book Tubs Centre

I set up the activity to be two centres. First they go to the "Book Tubs" centre. There students have a range of books to choose from. This year I decided to create three tubs (one, two and three). The books in tub one are easier, the books in tub two are an average grade two level and the books in tub three are more challenging. This way the task is multi-level as I often have multi-level groupings. Each tub has about four different books. I have five to six copies of each book (I use guided reading book sets).

At this centre students read multiple books during centre time. I encouraged students to be responsible for selecting their own books. Whenever I introduce a new centre, I always model it. For this centre I reviewed that students need to make the best choice for themselves. I encouraged them to select books that they can read independently as they need to be able answer questions on what they read. Some student needed some guidance on their choices initially. 

The Google Forms Centre

The next centre is when they select one book that they read at the Book Tubs centre to do a comprehension activity on a Google Form. I use a class website as a portal for most online work, so I created a page on my site dedicated to reading responses (SchoolZone and Classroom are good other alternatives).

Last year, I had required students to login prior to doing the Form but this caused some problems. This year I have NOT selected the "require EPS login to view this form" but have simply made typing their name a required question. This has allowed me to post the Forms on my class website and avoid the need for logging into Google Drive (we do not have Chromebooks you see).
I tested each quiz once I posted them on the class website. This gave me a chance to check for errors as well as to make a key for marking later.

Quick Accountability: Flubaroo

After each centre, I use Flubaroo to quickly grade the quizzes. Students who did not do well on a quiz are given that book to do again (sometimes later that week, sometimes the next time they go to that centre). 

What I Learned From Flubaroo

Last year, I used many text and paragraph answer type questions in the quizzes. When it came time to use Flubaroo to mark the activity, it became too time consuming. Flubaroo can mark some text answers but does not mark paragraphs. So last year I ended up with many long answers to read in the spreadsheet, which was difficult to assess in that format. I think long answers are important for reading comprehension, but it did not work for this particular activity.

Remembering what I learned last year, I decided that this time I would only use questions that Flubaroo could mark to make it easier and quicker to track student work and therefore to hold students accountable. 

Year Two, Less Work

As I did this last year, I had most of the Forms already created. However, as I decided to not use long answer questions, I did have to re-vamp many of the questions but this was not too time consuming. As with last year, I've posted all the forms I've made for books on the Division One Collaboration Site For Educational Technology.