This is a repost from a month ago. I have tested it thoroughly and it works. It takes a bit of time to prepare, but the time put in is worth it esp. if you are dealing with a class that needs to be hammered with discipline. This does it – literally forcing their attention on the discussion of the SSR text if they want to pass the quiz. It allows me to keep their attention for literally an hour or more as I recycle a chapter, for example in one of the Brandon Brown books. I definitely recommend this SSR strategy to others:
I have been having a lot of success in a new kind of SSR process* leading to a quiz in the first half hour or so of class. The process involves three steps:
- Ten minutes of SSR of a text way below their level.
- Quick Quiz
What is different about this new format?
- WRITING THE QUIZ
While they read, I page through the agreed upon chapter/text (whatever we have agreed in advance that the quiz would be on) and write the questions.
- PAGE LOCATORS DURING THE DISCUSSION
As I write the questions, I put a 1 or 2 (up to 10) in pencil by the side of the page right next to the sentence from which the quiz question came. Just a little number next to that line. This alerts me during the discussion after the SSR period to hit that sentence really heavily and cool it on the other content in the chapter. Like today I did an 85 min. class on Ch. 7 of Brandon Wants a Dog with 6th graders, no brain breaks (bc we got so silly talking about the text, with really funny voices, etc. that it was kind of a brain break during class). My goal was to just milk that one fact for as long as I could (sometimes 15 min. or more on one sentence in the book) and not talk so much during the discussion about other things that were not on the quiz.
- THE QUESTIONING PROCESS
Let’s say that question #7 was “Brandon went to the doctor with his mother at 4:00 a.m”. Of course that is not true, so the kids write down NON instead of OUI. (All answers are yes/no. Nothing motivates like success and it is a lot easier to grade with y/n answers.) But the new thing that I like to do is, when I ask the question, I tell them where the answer is in the book. I say, only once or maybe twice (that makes them listen for the hint), “At the top of page 42”. That sets them scurrying to scan the facts on that part of that page in preparation for my asking it. While they think it is a quiz, I’m getting them to read more deeply while listening to the question. And since the text is so easy in the first place I am able to get mega-reps on verbs like “learns” and such – those verbs that since they are not power verbs don’t get as many reps as they should.
The process is kind of laborious to describe but very easy to do. As stated, this format for a quick quiz builds confidence, which is my main job as a CI teacher. I am so glad that with this way of teaching we are finally slaying the little voices in our heads that says, “Trick ’em!” Kids don’t need to be tricked these days. They have enough on their plates.
* I prefer SSR to FVR, because I don’t believe that the research on FVR was done in secondary school settings. If anyone knows if any of the Krashen’s FVR research was done by looking at short ten minute periods at the beginning of classes in high school buildings with largely unmotivated hormone cases, I would like to see it.