All Hands on Guide Words!

It has been a whirlwind end of the year for me!  School is finally over, and we are in cleaning and summer mode!

The last few weeks have been nothing but SOL testing. In case you are not a Virginia teacher, you may not know that we do not follow Common Core. Virginia has Standards of Learning assessments.  The standards have been in place since before I started teaching 18 years ago, but the actual testing began 17 years ago.  It is a nightmare trying to schedule everyone in our school to test in two computer labs without disrupting too much.  This year, the state chose to allow students who received between a 375-399 on an assessment (400 is passing) to take what is called an "expedited retake".  It was my job as the reading specialist to remediate those students a few days before the test.

One skill the students always struggle with but is easy to remediate is using guide words.  I created this guide words activity to help them.  Since our test is computer based and uses Technology Enhanced Items (TEIs) that require students to do something other than just choose a multiple choice answer.  When I created these, I was thinking of those types of items. We called them Paper Enhanced Items (PEIs).  After creating these, a friend of mine helped me hone in on the skill with the strategy my students used.

The concept is pretty simple.  When students are given the guide words and have to choose the words that come between them, they would follow this simple process to help them pick out the words that fit between the guide words.

In this activity, students move the words on the page between the two guide words.  The students wrote the alphabet down the side of a piece of paper to help with organization and made the boxes on their paper.  Then they marked the letters to place the words between.  They found the outliers and put the other three words in alphabetical order between the guide words.  Simple and effective!  

We did this every day, so they would have a way to organize their thoughts with guide words and alphabetical order, something students struggle with.

I created a product with these called Hands on Guide Words since this is what they did.  They moved the words between guide words to put them in the correct order and practice, practice, practice.


Click {here} or on the picture below to check it out.  The preview file offers a set of three of these to try out.  If you purchase the entire set, you can grab the other 18 of these, a worksheet, and task cards!

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