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Friday, November 16, 2012

Visual Aid: Encouraging creative writing students to improve test scores

On the topic of visual aides, I'd like to share a bulletin board idea which I have used in my classroom to show how my creative writing students are doing in their writing by displaying their test scores.  This idea is probably my favorite.

Gone Fishin'
At the beginning of the school year, I use a clip art program to print out ten different types of fish in four sizes; large for scores of four, medium for scores of three, small for those who earn 2s, and finally, extra small fish for anyone who receives a "one" score.  each time a composition is read and scored, the appropriate fish is placed next to the student's name or picture.  I found some neat metallic puffer fish and put my students' names on them.  At the end of the year, I'd simply add up all the score points on each student's fish, and the one with the most points wins. 
My kids loved being able to choose what type of fish would go next to their name.  They felt like they were actually fishing!  As you can well imagine, most students who get a "one" don't like seeing a mini-fish next to their name and want to throw it back!  The only way I allow this is if they agree to rewrite the paper, implementing the suggestions for revising and editing that I offer in my critiques of their essays.
Well, what are we waiting for?  Let's go fishin'!

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