Thursday, January 15, 2015

Secondary Smorgasborg 6-12: Out of the Deep Freeze

Welcome to another installment of the Secondary Smorgasbord linky party! This is my favorite theme thus far (and VERY appropriate for the February weather we are currently experiencing). It's -30°C, and with the windchill, it has gotten to -45°C (for my American friends, that's approximately -22°F). Yes, I had to Google the conversion! Now that you know that I am literally experiencing the DEEP FREEZE in my neck of the woods, let's get down to business.

This month's collaborative theme is Out of the Deep Freeze and is about "a product that doesn't get the attention you'd like it to get and should get because, darn it, it's really good!" The project I chose to feature is something I worked REALLY hard on and update regularly! It's one of the best assignments I have created and not because I think so, but because my students tell me how much they learned! You read that right (they actually enjoy it). Hard to imagine high school students enjoying something that they have to put some effort into, right?

DRUM ROLL PLEASE.....

Would you believe it's a Monthly Budget Project?? Yep, they love it! Who would have guessed. This project reinforces practical money skills, and teaches the budgeting process in a fun and engaging way. Students will learn the differences between "need" and "want" items, and will experience what it's like to live on their own! Plus, they get to have a roommate, so the 'ol excitement of finding a partner in the class gets them extra excited.

So, what's it all about? Students get to (a) Find a place to live (b) Learn just how much groceries really do cost - their initial guesses are quite humorous! (c) Pay bills - forget online banking, they learn to write out checks! (d) Learn the costs of buying, renting, or leasing a vehicle...just to name a few!

If you want to give your students an opportunity to learn what it's like to live on their own, then give this a try! I am always open to suggestions and changes (as I am always updating this product, so feedback is welcomed!)

Thanks again to ELA Buffet and Desktop Learning Adventures for the link up opportunity! Make sure to peruse the other products posted by the other secondary sellers - you don't want to miss out on an awesome resource that has not been given the praise that it deserves!!

Stay warm, folks!



Thursday, January 1, 2015

6 Alternatives to Traditional Testing


traditional testing alternatives
While testing is traditionally the most widely used final assessment method, there are a variety of other alternatives a teacher could use to measure comprehension at the end of a unit. While marking tests can be tedious, summative assessments are important to not only a students learning, but your teaching as well.
traditional testing alternatives
My students needed a break from traditional testing. I was willing to give them a break, but I still wanted them to review the elements of a unit in a way that I could still measure their personal comprehension. That's when I came up with this Board Game Project. It's a fun twist on the traditional test.

This board game project allows students to reflect on what they learned, while at the same time, presenting the information in a really fun and creative way. Everything that was covered in a unit is fair game and can be incorporated in one way or another. Even the smallest details of a unit are important to this project.The project can also be done individually, in pairs, or even in small groups. There a lot of flexibility within this project, that's what makes it a great alternative.

Here are some other testing alternatives:

• Final paper
• Poster
• Portfolio
• Fact sheets
• Open book tests
• Chapter/series quizzes
 
These kinds of activities are especially useful if you have students that suffer from test anxiety. Giving them an option to show what they know with another type of project can build their confidence and allow them to demonstrate their knowledge in a less-stressful manner.

If you look like this when you see a stack of tests that need to be marked, or your students look like this when they hear the word T-E-S-T, then take a break from the traditional testing and try something new! You and your students deserve it!

What assessment methods do you use in your class instead of testing? 

Leave a comment below and I will add it to the list!