Sunday, May 6, 2018

SOL Reading Test Practice and Comprehension Clubs

I read this on Robert Marzano's twitter feed today:

"Probably the most powerful way to communicate high expectations for reluctant learners is to interact with them in a rigorous manner when they respond incorrectly to a question. Pay them the same deference you would a high-expectancy student."

In other words, we are not to let any student off the hook....Here is how he suggests probing:


We are using the think-pair-share strategy during our comprehension club time.  I tend to run club meetings more often as we get closer to state testing time.  The first step in forming comprehension clubs is to group students heterogeneously with 4 students in a group.  I make sure that I have one student who is a strong, "take charge" type in each group.  "Reluctant learners", as Marzano refers to them, are mixed into each of the different clubs as well.  With this set up, you have student "coaches" in each group.  By this time of the year, I have many students who have the third grade reading strategies and skills down solidly and end up sounding just like minnie me's as they work with their club members. 
Kids learning from's a good thing! 

We always have a first meeting in which students just meet to share what types of reading and books they like the best and then they come up with a club name. 
 Here are our clubs this year: 

My personal favorite: The "Read Hard or Go Home" about rigorous expectations!
Plus how fun would it be to sit on a mushroom or flower while it!

I attach their club signs to the 3C Reader Poster.  Clubs can earn star points for working productively,  respectfully and responsibly with their clubmates.  

During their club meetings, my groups have been working on reading different types of texts, discussing and analyzing them, and then answering comprehension questions.  
This is where I get some state test preparation in.  

We read the text outside of our club meeting time.  This allows me to support those who need some reading help to get through the passage.  Everyone is responsible for thinking through the questions independently though.  They meet with their clubmates and sit in a circle facing away from each other.  They read and answer just one question at a time on their own.  They make sure they have found proof of their answer using the text and have highlighted words or sentences as needed.   

After I ring the bell, the group members will face each other.  They each have a job to do. 
Student One will read the question aloud along with any answer choices. 

Student Two gives his answer and justifies it by referring back to the text and explaining why he answered as he did. 

Student Three confirms.  This mean he will either agree or disagree with the answer given. He will add on to further justify why he agrees or give alternate proof as a way to explain why he disagrees. He will also manage the group as the group further discusses how they believe the question should be answered.  This is the most interesting part of the process for me.  As a teacher, you can really witness who has a good understanding of reading and thinking skills. It is as if you can get a glimpse into their little brains as they discuss how and why they think as they do.   I take plenty of anecdotal records during this time.  

After a bit of debate, the club usually reaches an agreement as to what they believe a good answer is.  Student Four checks everyone's understanding.  This is necessary because I will pull a random student pin and that person will need to report for the club.  

We will have a quick whole class reporting of the answer and then move to the next question.  We turn the job cube with each question so everyone gets a turn to take on the four roles.  I will have to say that kids don't let kids off the hook and they have high expectations for everyone in their club. 
A little peer pressure tends to work well in holding everyone responsible and accountable for thinking and answering.  It's amazing what they will do to get me to draw a star on their club sign. 

Thoughts about Marzano's tweet?  
Would love to hear your take on it!
Interested in running comprehension clubs using the Role Cube? 
Email or comment below and I'll send it your way!


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  3. This is so awesome! I'm extremely interested in having comprehension clubs using the Role Cube in my classroom. I would love any resources you have to get this started!

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