Saturday, April 4, 2015

Calling All Doctors!

My most hated season as a teacher is here - test prep!  I hate that I have to take valuable teaching time to prepare my students for a test that will measure their performance on one day out of the entire year.  Instead, I wish that that time was spent allowing my students opportunities to collaborate to solve problems, master communication skills, reflect on their own learning, or choose a project that is self-directed that would show evidence of their learning - anything but multiple choice test prep.  However, I am bound and at the mercy of those above.  We've started prep, but we are doing it my way.

Enter - Operation Sentence Surgery

My students are expected to read a passage on the state test, identify the errors, and then choose an appropriate way to fix the mistakes.

I spent time after school one afternoon transforming our classroom into an operating room.  I divided my students into surgery teams based on their performance on former activities and skill assessments.  OR 1 would get more direct instruction from me and OR 6 would work primarily independently from me.

I then created a video that called all doctors to the ER due to multiple traumas on I-85.  The accidents included multiple injuries - some more severe than others.  (My students loved the dramatic effect).  I had also chosen a Chief Resident and 2 Lead Surgeons who helped manage the surgery staff.  The Lead Surgeons were in charge of 3 OR tables.  The Surgery Teams worked together to treat the injuries of the patients (errors in the passages) and then submitted their treatment to the Lead Surgeon. Each passage was given a target heart beat which was the number of errors that were present in the passage. If the Lead Surgeon saw that it was correct, the team was allowed to treat another patient.  The Lead Surgeons had worked with me ahead of time to complete the assignment and create possible answer keys. If there was a disagreement with the course of action, my Chief Resident stepped in to provide a second opinion.

My Chief Resident and 2 Lead Surgeons

Treating patients

Focused on the right course of treatment

A Lead Surgeon making sure the treatment was appropriate

A group asking for assistance.

My kids LOVED this activity.  At the end, all students were given a patient to treat independently to assess their understanding of the skills of fragments and run-ons.  Each group had been given pre-determined passages based on their learning needs, so the assessments reflected the same level of differentiation.

I had a few doctors that were needed in the isolation rooms to treat severe injuries that could lead to epidemics in the general population (These were the "behavior" issues).  These students were unaware of this accommodation and totally bought into the Isolation Room.

It took a minute for my Chief and Lead Surgeons to warm up to their roles, they were a little self-conscious of the scrubs.  Everyone totally ate up the masks and gloves and asked to bring them home.

My favorite thing about this is that it could be adapted for any skill or subject.  I can't wait to try it again. I also didn't mind hearing, "Paging Dr. Looper to OR 6, STAT" or "Code Blue, a patient is in critical condition."

Just FYI, I had done a similar activity with contractions when I taught 2nd grade years ago, but my visit to the Ron Clark Academy inspired me to bring it back out to use this year.  Thank you to Kim Bearden for sparking it again!

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