Thursday, May 24, 2012

Assessing Comprehension with Small Group Song Performances!

Understanding of any subject matter and perfecting writing skillsCreativity is KEY in the classroom! I'm certain all of you agree. 
Constantly trying to find new ways to keep students involved in reading and comprehending literature, I've had the best time watching and listening to some rather creative song performances based on our selections we read in class!

The idea behind this activity is for students to recall details and explain perspectives, or explain story elements for example, which displays their levels of comprehension of particular texts we are reading in class or texts we have just finished reading. It's a different and fun approach to assessing comprehension that my students have very much enjoyed. 
An added incentive? Their writing skills are perfected as they work to compose lyrics on the subject matter learned and students gain more exposure in presentations! I try to get students up in front of the class quite a bit in hopes of burying "stage fright" as they approach higher grades and demands in the years to come. I find this most successful since my middle schoolers tire easily of a monotonous routine. Since my students work and deliver presentations as groups and it's a "fun" presentation to deliver, I end up eliminating some of the embarrassments that come with presentations. Variety is the spice of life!
Innovative Connections Ann Marie Smith on Teachers Pay Teachers

Most entertaining to the students, besides getting to work in groups to create a song they actually sing for the class, are the performances of all groups in the class and even listening to the audio recordings of my other classes! On top of the enjoyment, students don't even realize they are gaining even more details and information from other groups' songs! 

Innovative Approach to assess your students' comprehension! Innovative ConnectionsWhat got me blogging about this activity today was the fact that we (my students and I) all listened to the recordings again yesterday--after the final exam! It was a nice "wind down" moment in which we went back to earlier in the school year to these songs they created and sang for the class. 
I wanted to let you know about the activity I created, Literature Response Activity: Compose Songs Based on Any Text,  with student handouts and teacher rubric, in case any of you are wrapping up, and perhaps finishing a book or story, and need a creative way to assess comprehension! Click cover image at right to read more in the product description at my TpT store, and perhaps grab this fun activity for your students. Click here to get it from Teacher's Notebook.
It can also be a great activity for other subject areas and various types of texts! Whatever the topic is, the students compose writing (songs) based on what they've learned! How much they have learned or comprehended is what we must figure, why not do it with a little fun added?

Question: What is a creative activity you implement in your class to sort of "trick" your kiddos into showing what they know? I'd love to hear more ideas!! I'll tuck them away for the upcoming school year!! Thanks so much for any great ideas you would like to share here!! :) 

Be well and Happy Summer!


  1. I've had my students make up songs, and they love it! Thanks for sharing!

    Sally from ElementaryMatters

    1. Awesome, Sally!! I'm glad to know and thank you for stopping by to tell me! Isn't it fun to hear them?? I get a kick out of it!
      Ann Marie

  2. This is an awesome idea-I will definitely use this in my future classroom! Thanks for sharing :)


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