This Angela’s Ashes Discussion Quiz / Assessment / Test is a perfect assessment to wrap up a class read or a group assigned to read Frank McCourt’s masterpiece, Angela’s Ashes. Requiring analysis, synthesis, close reading, and critical thinking, the discussion quiz will encourage students to be prepared and to share their preparation on the day of the quiz.
The discussion quiz could take on many forms, including modifying it to be a written assignment. However, in my own class it has worked like this:
1.) After we wrap up the last chapter of the memoir, each student receives a copy of the Discussion Quiz handout. There are actually three different versions – each with 8 of the 24 different topics in bold.
2.) Students are told that they are to prepare for only the 8 topics that are marked on their sheet. This preparation includes thorough written notes, marking page numbers, and any other type of activity they’d like to do to make sure they are ready to share their thoughts.
3.) After students are given time – usually in class and then finishing up outside of class – to prepare, the day of the quiz arrives. There will be three different groups – students with topics 1, 4, 7… are group #1, students with topics 2, 5, 8… are group #2, and students with topics 3, 6, 9… are group #3. One group forms their desks into a small circle in the middle of the room, while the other two groups combine to form a larger circle outside (think of a donut, or bagel shape).
4.) Whichever group is on the “inside” – only those students are allowed to talk. The discussion is strictly student-led (of course, you know your class and whether or not it would be better for you to assist them at times). Usually groups just go through the numbers they have been assigned in order, but some groups find logical connections between different topics that are non-sequential, and they cover the material that way.
5.) As the groups are discussing the topics “inside,” the “outside” students have been assigned a specific student from the discussion group on which to focus. The outer-circle students are to follow along with the discussion and specifically focus on the contributions and actions of the student they have been assigned. A small check-list style grading sheet is given to each outer-circle “grader” to take notes. I do the same, in order to ensure accurate assessment, but often times the classmates are honest and their assessment numbers are very similar to my own.
6.) Once one group is done (or they have reached a time amount you have allotted for each group), groups rotate out, students on the outside are assigned new students to assess, and step #s 4 and 5 (above) are repeated for the new group.
Of course, you can always use the handouts from this product or its ideas in any way you see fit. You know, better than anyone, what will work and what might need to be changed to best meet the needs of your students.
As always, A Teacher’s Teacher aims to provide you with useful tools that will help in the classroom. To this end, all files are provided in multiple formats for both easy access (.pdf) as well as editing and modifying for your own classroom needs (.docx).