I'm not a sit and get type of teacher on most days and I don't use our textbooks, unless I am resource poor because it doesn't meet our standards. BUT, sometimes there is still a need for students to gather the background information on a time period.
Enter Movers and Shakers....
One of my goals this year was to provide structured conversation throughout my lessons that allowed students to make decisions about their learning. This activity did just that.
*Before beginning, choose a text for students to focus on for the lesson. We were studying the Harlem Renaissance, so I chose a text that summarized the entire era. Students were given 5:00 to read as much as they were able. Some were able to read the entire text, while others were only able to get half way through.
Once students read the article, I provided 5 minutes to write the top 3 ideas they felt were most important in the text. This allowed me to see if they were able to grab the main idea of the text.
The kids LOVED this activity and have begged for it multiple times. Since then we've used this discussion protocol in math as well. Instead of looking for the main idea, students wrote 3 equations for word problems, chose the most efficient one to solve, and then justified how it was the best choice.
I've added this to my stash of good ideas to use each year. With the excitement that my kids had and the results on the quiz (80% scored 80% or better!), it is definitely a keeper!