Is It Possible?

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Is it possible? Could any reading lesson be as fun as Math Quest? If you ask my 4th graders, the answer is NO! On no planet, big or small, could anything ever be as much fun as the much loved Math Quest!

Hmmmm - almost sounds like a dare?? Never one to shy away from challenge, I made it my New Year's resolution for 2014 to make reading lessons as much fun, if not, (yes, hold your breath - more fun!), than our beloved Math Quest.

I explained my goal, but not how it would be accomplished, to my 4th graders prior to my 2 week stint of standardized testing. They were intrigued! (Doubtful, but intrigued.) The new ELA unit will utilize one of my favorite resources, Jacob's Ladder, designed by The Center for Gifted Education at William and Mary. Jacob's Ladder targets reading comprehension skills and written response to advanced text for high ability learners. In the form of three skill ladders, students move from lower order, concrete thinking skills to higher order, critical thinking skills. Each ladder serves to scaffold student understanding, thinking, and written response.

Ladder A:
  • Sequencing
  • Cause and Effect
  • Consequences & Implications 
Ladder B:
  • Details
  • Classifications
  • Generalizations 
Ladder C:
  • Elements
  • Inferences
  • Theme/Concept 
I know! How will reading complex passages, responding in writing using specific evidence from the text, and rubrics to evaluate our work be more fun than buying golden peanuts and whatchamacallits while racing towards a treasure chest worth 50,000 pieces of gold? Like my students, you are probably doubtful. Intrigued, but doubtful.

Below is a sneak preview. You will see that I had a tremendous amount of help. :-)


clip art from

The final product is not yet complete, so stay tuned. The new unit will unroll a week from tomorrow. I will be using an anonymous form to evaluate student feedback over time. I'll keep you posted!

Thanks for checking in! Happy Teaching!

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