What is it?
Reading Response Tic-Tac-Toe is a fun and simple way for middle and high school students to respond to their fictional reading. The purpose of the assignment is to hold students accountable for their reading without making them begrudge it. Since the reading response is quick and simple (about 10 minutes of class time), students do not look at the writing portion as a punishment after reading. Over time, students will begin to look forward to their reading, knowing they don’t have a major writing assignment waiting for them after they read.
I call the reading responses “tweets” because I tell the students they are going to be like a bird and give me a short tweet. Each reading response document also has a cartoon bird character on it to jazz up the document. The birds are a chicken, eagle, penguin, swan, sparrow, turkey, parrot (with sunglasses and a tie), owl, duck and chick.
All characters are from pixabay and have a Creative Commons 1.0 license that can be found at the following website:
Creative Commons License
1. Students are to read once a week for independent reading. Independent reading is a book the student chooses to read. The purpose is to promote reading and give students a chance to read once a week in class without any interruptions.
2. Students choose a piece of fiction that must be approved by the teacher. The book must be at least 200 words. Almost all books should be approved because the assignment is for students to enjoy reading what they like to read. Of course, as the school year goes by, the teacher can give suggestions to students about trying new authors or new genres, or even to step up a student’s reading level.
3. One day a week should be set aside for independent reading. (My classes have Fridays for independent reading, and as the year goes by, students will look forward to my class, knowing they can relax on Friday and enjoy the novel they are reading. Of course, with the crazy world of standardized testing, there are weeks when I have to move the reading to Thursday or bump it to the next week on Monday.)
Reading Response Tic-Tac-Toe
1. During the last 10 minutes of class, I announce for students to begin writing their tweets.
2. Students are to pull out their tic-tac-toe boards, find a prompt they want to respond to, and then tweet their responses in 40 to 80 words.
3. At the end of the tweet, students record the page number they are on in their books, record how many pages their book has, and then record how many words their tweet has. (I have them write the page number because it gives me a gauge of how they are doing. If a student has only read a few pages after a few weeks, I can talk to that student to see what we can do to get the student reading more.) For teachers who prefer not to have students write their page numbers on the tweet, I have included a different set of reading response documents.
4. After students respond to a particular prompt, they mark that square with an X. The second week, after they respond to a prompt, they mark an O. They switch back and forth until they finally get a row of X’s or O’s and have a tic-tac-toe.
5. Once a student has a tic-tac-toe (it will take, at minimum, five weeks for a student to accomplish this), the student staples his or her tweet to that tic-tac-toe board and turns it in that week. The student gets a new tic-tac-toe board and the process continues. (Since there are four tic-tac-toe boards for weekly reading, the shortest amount of time a student will take to complete all four boards is 20 weeks.) Once a student finishes Board 4, he or she just goes back to Board 1.
6. When students finish their books, they start a finished-book board. (There are two of these labeled Board ‘A’ and Board ‘B.’) Students answer a prompt on a finished-book board at this time. Board ‘A’ will last for a minimum of five books, which is also the minimum length of time for Board ‘B.’
I make this very simple. I give each student 5 out of 5 points for completing a tweet each week correctly, which means there are between 40 and 80 words and the student gave an honest effort to answer a prompt from the tic-tac-toe board. (Of course, you could easily grade this however it will work best for your grading system.)
My grading time is minimal. I can read each one quickly, write a comment, grade it, and get it back to the student in a timely manner.
I do not grade completed tic-tac-toe boards because students turn these in at different times. The boards are just a fun way for students to choose different prompts to write about.
As a bonus, I give each student a sticker when he or she turns in a finished-book prompt. I have a class list displayed on a wall in my classroom with 10 spaces after each name. When a student gets his or her sticker, the sticker gets placed next to his or her name. (I teach high school and use peace signs as stickers, and my students love getting them.) One display is for the first semester, and then I put up a new display for the second semester.
Reading Response Documents, or Tweets
There are two sets of tweet documents. Each set has five pages with two tweet documents per page. (The pages are to be cut in half.)
One set of documents includes information for students to record what page they are on in their books and one set of documents does not include this information. You can choose which set you like the best.
What do you get with a purchase?
1. The lesson plan, or instructions, which are 2 pages.
2. The weekly tic-tac-toe boards (with prompts): 4 boards that will last, at minimum, for 20 weeks.
3. The finished-book tic-tac-toe boards (with prompts): 2 boards that will last, at minimum, for 10 books.
4. The "tweets," or reading response documents: 5 tweet pages to be cut in half, making it 10 documents with a different cartoon bird on each one. By putting two on a page, if I have 140 students, I only have to copy 70 pages each week. (One set includes boxes for students to record their page numbers of their books, and one set does not include this option. Teacher preference dictates which set you would use.)
5. All documents are in PDF.
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