It was a few years back when I came across an image on social media with quotes from Shakespeare and Hip Hop. Then I found one that was Batman or Shakespeare. Recently @mrsorman posted Green Day or Whitman? I love these quotes for a classroom activity. My students are kicking off a mystery unit and I have immersed them in video and print texts of iconic murder mysteries. I thought Agatha Christie or Wednesday Addams would be perfect to use as a hook for this unit.
Whether you make your own (I use @Canva’s carousel templates) or purchase another teachers, you can use these in many different ways to engage active learning and critical thinking skills. Here are five ways to incorporate Who Said It? in your classroom this week:
Gallery Walk – Post the quotes around the room and have students walk around viewing and recording their answers. This technique allows students to be actively engaged as they walk throughout the classroom. Students can work together in small groups to share ideas and respond to the quotes or work independently and they provide evidence to support their answers.
Bulletin Board – Looking for a low stakes activity but visual eye candy for your classroom wall? Post all the quotes on a bulletin board and you might even post the answers underneath for students to check their guesses.
Station Rotation – This can be one of your stations or learning activities that students rotate through. Kick it up a notch as a hot potato game and use that plush hot potato. First, all members of this station sit in a circle. Then, squeeze the Hot Potato to start the music and pass the spud to the player next to you or even across from you. Toss the tater back and forth, up high, down low, around and around. When the music stops the person holding the potato takes a quote from the jar, reads it aloud and then provides an answer aloud. Play a few rounds to have other group members answer additional questions in the jar.
4. Online Game – Choose an on line game platform like Booklet, Kahoot, Quizlet Live, or Quizizz to test your students literary knowledge. This can be played as a hook or bell ringer to start class or use as a wrap up after discussing elements of mystery.
5. Silent Debate – To help students practice argumentative writing, students can select a quote or randomly choose a quote and then have to defend their answer by writing a short response with two pieces of evidence to support their claims.
If you would like a copy of this Who Said It deck, please email me. There are about twenty quotes in total.
I am currently reading Peter Liljedahl’s Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics: 14 Teaching Practices for Enhancing Learning (Corwin, 2021) after three recommendations. The book organizes “each chapter by exploreing one of the 14 optimal practices, beginning with a deep dive into what are the institutionally normative practices that permeate many classrooms around the world. It reveals how each of these practices is working against our efforts to get students to think, and then it offers a clear presentation of what the research revealed to be the optimal practice for each variable, unpacking it into macro- and micro- practices. These descriptions are punctuated by excerpts from the data, anecdotes from teachers, photographs from real K–12 classrooms, and responses to frequently asked questions (FAQ).” Each chapter provides micro and macro moves that I have been considering and implementing into my classroom. The first thing that I did was to decenter my classroom and randomize the seating daily. Every day, students sit with different classmates. Desks are arranged in pods of three. This has been the first game changer since there is no front of the classroom anymore and I am teaching from every direction. Secondly, I have no complaints about seating or collaboration.
The next pivot I made in my classroom was teaching vertically. Liljedahl states in the book, “One of the most enduring institutional norms that exists in mathematics classrooms is students sitting at their desks (or tables) and writing in their notebooks. This turned out to be the workspace least conducive to thinking. What emerged as optimal was to have the students standing and working on vertical non- permanent surfaces (VNPSs) such as whiteboards, blackboards, or windows. It did not matter what the surface was, as long as it was vertical and erasable (non-permanent). The fact that it was non-permanent promoted more risk taking, and the fact that it was vertical prevented students from disengaging. Taken together, having students work, in their random groups, on VNPSs had a massive impact on transforming previously passive learning spaces into active thinking spaces where students think, and keep thinking, for upwards of 60 minutes.” This means that the more time students are able to stand, think, and actively engage with the material the better.
How does this translate in the ELA classroom when students are reading, writing, thinking, speaking and listening versus completing math problems? Here are four different ways to shift learning vertical that I have been utilizing to optimize learning.
Gallery Walk – This discussion technique allows students to be actively engaged as they walk throughout the classroom. They work together in small groups to share ideas and respond to meaningful questions, documents, images, problem-solving situations or texts. Use a Gallery Walk at any point in the lesson to engage students in conversation, I tend to use them at the beginning of a lesson to showcase and examine mentor texts and model writing/reading passages. Teacher can also use gallery walks after reading a text to discuss ideas, themes, and characters. Gallery walks can be text based on visual texts.
Grafitti – Similar to a gallery walk, items are posted around the room: images, questions, ideas, concepts, or scenarios. Large sheets of paper or chart paper are placed on the walls of the classroom. Students write their responses, draw pictures and record their thoughts on the given topic on the graffiti wall. Students are encouraged to use colored markers to make the wall interesting and to identify each student’s work/response.
Use a Gallery Walk and the Graffiti format for students to get feedback on their work. Hang student products, such as drawings, visual representations, poster projects, and or one pagers. Students, individually or in groups, rotate around the room and provide feedback to the creator of the work. Students are required to record one thing they like about the work displayed, one thing they wonder about it, and one thing the creator could do next or improve.
Four Corners – Students are presented with a controversial statement or are asked a question. In each of the four corners of the classroom, an opinion or response is posted. Students express their opinion or response by standing in front of one of four statements, and then talking to others about why they have chosen their corner. Four Corners promotes listening, verbal communication, critical thinking, and decision-making.
Question Trails – My reading specialist and colleague introduced me to these on your feet activities last year and I am obsessed. A question trail is an engaging activity that allows students to move around the classroom and complete different tasks. Students follow the “trail” of multiple-choice questions that will show what they have learned from unit of study, a text, or reading. Question trails can be collaborative or individual. It is really up to you the teacher to make that choice. The basic premise of the question trail is for students to understand the material the teacher has provided. The students answer a series of multiple-choice questions. If the questions on the trail are answered correctly, students will be prompted to move to the next question. If students answer a question incorrectly, they will end up at a question they have already answered which means they will need to backtrack to see where they made an error. They will need to determine where they went wrong. To learn how to make your own question trail you can visit Creative ALS Teaching.
Tomorrow when my students walk into the classroom we will begin class with a gallery walk of questions about feedback for them to read and respond to on big chart paper. Then students will watch Austin’s Butterfly and take notes about what effective feedback is and is not. We will discuss as a whole class what good feedback look and sounds like before we meet with writing partners to get feedback on the writing we are working on. There are a few teaching moves that I am implementing from Thinking Classrooms to allow students to actively engage in the lesson and use their mind for thinking deeply.
Understanding what your students already know is key to building initial knowledge that they need. Activating Prior Knowledge is important in students understanding, because it allows them and helps make connections to the new information. Using what students already know, helps teacher assist students with the learning process.
KWHLAQ – These updated charts extend the range of a basic KWL chart to incorporate more metacognition, and follow-through towards continuing learning and related action. This chart includes How, Actions, and Questions alongside of the traditional what do you already know, what do you want to know, and what have your learned.
BRAIN POURS/BRAIN DUMPS – Brainstorming comes in many forms and asks students to write down everything they remember about a topic or subject. This is similar to a free write where students write all the things that come to their mind or they are thinking about without worrying about spelling, punctuation, and proper usage.
CAPTION THIS – One of my favorite activities from Matt Miller of Ditch That Textbook, the teacher selects an image and students annotate, comment, and even write a story to describe what they see in the image.
PADLET – This platform is great for collaboration and curation of ideas and activities. I use Padlet with my grad students and middle school students to share ideas, explain concepts, and collaborate in the brainstorming process.
ANSWER GARDEN – Another great online tool to post a question to the class and have students respond in 140 or 170 characters, what is great about this platform is that it creates a word cloud of all the responses with the most repeated words larger than others.
ANTICIPATION GUIDES – An anticipation guide is a comprehension strategy in any content area that poses statements or questions for students about the larger themes and ideas presented in the unit. I use anticipation guide often prior to a reading unit to gauge students thinking about themes connected to the unit of study. You can preview the one I created on Google Forms on WW2 and the Holocaust
GALLERY WALK – During a gallery walk, students explore multiple texts or images that are placed around the room. I use this strategy for students to respond to a collection of quotations, images, and textual excerpts. This strategy requires students to physically move around the room, it can be engaging to kinesthetic learners. Texts should be displayed “gallery style,” in a way that allows students to disperse themselves around the room, with several students clustering around each particular text. Texts can be hung on walls or placed on tables. The most important factor is that the texts are spread far enough apart to reduce significant crowding. Students walk around the room to read or view the texts around the room and then respond or comment on poster paper, a graphic organizer, or later during a large class debrief.
GAMES like Kahoot, QuizletLive, Quizalize, Quizizz – Test what students already know about a topic or idea by asking a series of questions on a game platform. Students love these games and they are perfect to access prior knowledge with low stakes or can also be utilized at the end of the lesson to see what students learned.
SURVEYs/QUESTIONAIRES – Make a list of 10-15 statements related to the subject content, including commonly held misconceptions. Have students mark “true” or “false” next to each statement.
WORD WEBS – Provide students with a word web of key words and concepts related to the topic or concept to be learned. Ask students to circle the words they already know or write a sentence using a 4-5 of the words that explains the connections between the ideas presented in the word web.
Have more ideas that work well with your students, share in the comments section for our readers.