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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Using Thinking Maps

Can you relate?? We finished our first week of Benchmark Testing this past week. Our county does them at the end of each grading period. I have a love/hate relationship with these types of tests. I love getting the data. If the test was well constructed I think the information we get back can be meaningful and can help me make important decisions in regards to my future instruction. But I absolutely hate that it takes away from my teaching and destroys my schedule. Would love to hear from others. Do you do benchmarks? What do you think about them? Useful or useless?







In between tets we did manage to finish up our Cycles Unit in Science. I like using graphic organizers with my students so I was glad to read the research supporting their use. According to the experts in the field, when students elaborate on knowledge using nonlinguistic representations, not only do they understand the material in greater depth but they can recall it more easily.


Here I had my students use the Bridge Map to relate two different parts of a cycle. I give them the relating factor and they describe the relationship and construct the map. Here are two students working collaboratively to get the job done. This type of thinking map is similar to an analogy. It is read "Snow is to below 32 degrees as Rain is to above 32 degrees.
Here are some finished examples. After creating them my students used them to reteach each other and to prepare for the test.
























































2 comments:

Amber said...

I laughed so hard when I read your comic. I can totally relate. We too recently finished benchmark testing. We take benchmarks at the end of each nine weeks in every subject area. We also take unit tests in reading every 6 weeks and math every 4-6 weeks. I think you summed up my feeling as well when you said "I love getting the data. If the test was well constructed I think the information we get back can be meaningful and can help me make important decisions in regards to my future instruction. But I absolutely hate that it takes away from my teaching and destroys my schedule."

Sometimes I feel like I have so much data that what I'm lacking is the time to address the concerns!

Thanks for the laugh today. I needed it!

Mrs. Corbitt said...

LOVED the cartoon!!! The beginning of the year benchmarks crack me up . . . it's like, duh my kids aren't ready to take an end of the year test. Common sense tells me that if the kids were ready for 4th grade they'd be in 4th grade ... anyway. Loved your blog!!!

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