Category Archives: printable activities

Geometric Character Analysis

A Fun Activity You Can Do with Any Text

Geometric Character Analysis

If you’ve been following Next Time Teaching for a while, you know I am all about activities that can be used with multiple texts.  I’ve presented on them before, and I’m excited to be presenting again at IATE this year.  Geometric Character Analysis is one I’ve been doing for so long and with so many different texts that I don’t remember where it came from.  If you know where it comes from, shoot me a message, I’d love to know.

I like Geometric Character Analysis because it’s a sneaky activity.  Kids are engaged and having fun, but when you listen in on their conversations, they’re talking about important ideas and thinking in interesting ways.  It’s perfect for the Friday before a break or other days when you want something fun and creative but still focused on the text you’re teaching. Continue reading

Passage Pass: A Silent Discussion Activity that Works with Any Text

passage pass

I completely agree with this post that having a structure for your discussion makes all the difference in the world.  I’ve had the occasional class that on the occasional day could break into an insightful discussion without my intervention, but it’s never been the norm.  And having a lot of different discussion formats in your repertoire allows you to adjust to scheduling needs, diagnose and solve classroom problems, and keep things interesting.

But trying a new format can also be daunting.  I wrote about the things that can go wrong with fishbowl discussions and the appointment clock strategy so that other people wouldn’t have to go through as much trial and error as I did.  Let’s talk about another discussion format that works with any text and is easy to implement once you get the hang of it.   Continue reading

Everything that Could Go Wrong with Your Fishbowl Discussions

And why you should do them anyway

One of the reasons I started Next Time Teaching was to share what I’ve learned–both about what works and what doesn’t–from 19 years of teaching and to try to help other teachers not have to reinvent wheels.  Believe me, I’ve made thousands of mistakes.  Every day, in every lesson.  If I can save you from making any of the same mistakes, I’m happy.  So let’s focus today on problems with fishbowl discussions.  Whether you’ve never heard of them, want to try one, or have done them a bunch of times, hopefully thinking through some of the potential things that can go wrong ahead of time will help your next fishbowls go more smoothly. Continue reading

Everything that Could Go Wrong with the Appointment Clock Strategy

And Why You Should Do It Anyway

Another strategy that I presented at the recent conference was appointment clock buddies.  I really like this strategy and I think it can work for almost any subject and a lot of grade levels.  If you do it right.  There are also a lot of potential pitfalls, and I’d like to share those so that you can think through how to approach the appointment clock and feel good about it before you use it (now would be the time to grab a beverage).

What is the appointment clock strategy? Continue reading

Simple Reflective Reading Journal for Use with Any Text

simple reflective reading journal for use with any textToday on Next Time Teaching, I want to share one of the strategies from my recent presentation.  The focus of my presentation was low prep activities that increase critical thinking, close reading and engagement and can be done with any text.  Many of the activities can be repeated multiple times throughout a year, saving prep time while allowing you to see your students’ growth over time.  This reading journal certainly fits the bill! Continue reading