Monday, April 27, 2015

SOL Review Test

At the beginning of our SOL review I gave the students a release SOL test. For those of you not familiar with SOL release tests they are old SOL tests that are no longer in use and are available to the public. The test is 60 questions. In addition to the student simply writing their answer I gave the students a purple sheet that is fill with a grid. The grid looked like this:

There were 60 boxes for the students to write their answers and the keyword. During the test, students were to keep the SOL blank. Before I handed out the test I went through this short presentation.
Students were to identify the key word from this practice release question. Once we determined the key word(s), Great Wall of China, I had them tell me all they could remember about the Great Wall. Answers included: it's in China, it was started by Qin Shi Huangdi, it was built to keep invaders from the north out, it's long, and it's made of wood and stone. I then had the students look at the possible answers given. I asked them which one of the options sounds like something we just mentioned? The students came to the conclusion that C is the correct answer.  
 Having students do the test this way takes longer than I was expecting. I thought that students would take the entire class period and then the next day we would go over the answers. However, some students ended up taking two entire class periods and we went over the answer the third day. Most students did the keyword- I did not make it mandatory.

When we went over the answers, I had the SOL strand (SOL2.3) written on the test. Once we went over all of the answers I encouraged students to identify patterns of missed SOLs. I also pointed out that SOL 5 (Greece) and SOL 6 (Rome) make up 25% of the test.

I got this idea from a fellow social studies teacher who teaches at a middle school across the county. She has had success with this during the SOL. She encourages the students to use their scratch paper in a similar way. Again, your fellow teachers are your best resource!

Happy Teaching!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

SOL Review

At our school we are in the thick of SOL review. We wrapped up the our last new content, The Renaissance, right before Spring Break. This has allowed me to give the students a release test (which I'll blog about soon) and then use another WHI teacher's notes to review.

On Friday, I wanted to shake things up. Overall, students have a difficult time with geography: blank maps, labeling places, identifying a place on a map stump my students. I brainstormed with a fellow 8th grade teacher and she gave me the idea of the students creating their own review. I identified six SOL strands and divided the students into six groups. Students were given paper, butcher paper, mini-dry erase boards, makers, and index cards to create a review lesson to present to the class.

Students work busily for about fifteen minutes and then present their lessons. They were to identify important land features, water feathers, and explain how the geography influenced the civilization.

I was pleased to see that students drew maps for each of their lessons. Drawing and creating are at the top of Bloom's taxonomy and hopefully the lesson they created will help them come SOL day on Thursday.

Happy Teaching!