Thursday, June 4, 2009

Topic: Assessment of Literature Study

10-second review: Problem—students were failing standard pencil/paper tests the teacher was using for the literary works they were studying. “I lacked assessments that matched the level of reading and interaction that we had enjoyed.” Solution? Brown-bag tests.

Title: “The Brown Bag Exam: What Does Assessment Have to Do with Lunch?” DM Ousley. English Journal (July 2008), 113-15. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Summary: Four steps.

1. Each student or pairs of students given a brown bag with surprise artifacts related to the novel they have just read. Brainstorm connections between the artifact and the novel.

2. In threes, students share artifacts and connections to the novel with each other.

3. Find two passages from the novel that relate to the artifacts.

4. Students pick one artifact and explain the novel's effect on their experience and learning.

Comment: Do it yourself before trying with students. Should be fun finding the artifacts related to the novel. Probably better if the students find the artifacts. Causes students to discuss the significant ideas or scenes of the novel and relates them to their own experiences. Involves students actively in discussing the novel. Worth a try. May need to adapt the technique. Quite a few artifacts needed if one or two or three for every student in the class—unless the students find the artifacts. RayS.

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