End of the Year

5 Scope Contest Entries We Love
(And so Will You)

Nicholas P.

Every issue of Scope includes several opportunities for students to enter contests and win great prizes. (Check out our current contests here.) We are always blown away by the creativity and talent of our readers. Here are just a few of our favorite winning entries to contests that have appeared in Scope throughout the year. You can download all of the entries below and use them as models with your students next year. Enjoy!

 

Gave Us the Chills

Evan A., Grade 6
Central Intermediate School in Washington, IL

"They're everywhere . . . and they're coming to get us!!" Evan's heart-pounding horror movie trailer for the Handwashing Contest is both dramatic and informative, with lots of great tips on how to wash your hands the right way to get rid of germs.

 

Made Us Think

Ava P., Grade 7
Kingsway Regional Middle School in Woolwich, NJ

Ava’s essay on superheroes for the Heroes Contest features a vivid and gripping introduction and a well-constructed argument about why superheroes don’t have to have super powers—they can be everyday people like firefighters and friends.

 

 

Filled Us with Delight

Nicholas P., Grade 7
Springboro Jr. High School in Springboro, OH

Nicholas's slideshow for the Phone Manners Contest is one of the most creative visual presentations we saw all year. His scenarios of rude phone behavior are funny and oh-so-true to life!

Nicholas P.

 

Inspired Us

Jada K., Grade 7
Kendrick Middle School in Jonesboro, MS

We just love this beautiful poem that Jada wrote for the Rachel Carson Contest. It's both lyrical and persuasive—making the case that Rachel Carson's legacy should be honored by an official holiday in her name.

 

 

Made Us Feel Like We Were Right There

Lily A., Grade 7
Las Vegas Day School in Las Vegas, NV

Lily's descriptive writing passage for the Piper Contest is so vivid and inventive. We were especially delighted by her creative description of Piper's tongue as "rough as sandpaper and as pink as frosting on a little girl’s birthday cake." So great!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vivienne Chen Scope's contest judge and intern.

 

A Delightful Student-Led Learning Journey to End the Year

By
Kim O'Bray

Editor's Note: We are so in love with Kim O'Bray's student-led project. After reading about tardigrades in a Scope infographic, Kim's students became fascinated by these microscopic critters. (We totally get why—tardigrades can survive 10 years without food or water!) So Kim turned her students' interest into an opportunity to do independent research and a creative project. We think this is a great activity for the end of the school year.

 

 

None of us had ever heard of a tardigrade before we read the infographic "The Amazing Tardigrade" in Scope (September 2015). After completing their contest entries (writing paragraphs arguing that the tardigrade should be the school mascot), my students were clamoring to find out more about this curious creature. So, I grabbed the opportunity and had them do independent research on the tardigrade. They were tasked with discovering anything and everything about tardigrades and then presenting their findings to the class in a creative way. Some students worked alone while others worked in groups, but they all came up with inventive ways to present their research.

 

What you'll need
Any Scope infographic that sparks students' curiosity, such as "The Amazing Tardigrade" or "The Monster King" (That one's all about roaches. Eek!)

Skills
speaking, listening, independent research, using multiple mediums to visually express information

Time
1-2 class periods (time out of class to create presentations will vary)

 

 

Tardigrade Fiction

Several students wrote fiction stories about the tardigrade and even illustrated them.

 

 

Tardigrade Superhero

Some students created comics featuring the tardigrade as a crime-fighting superhero.

 

 

3-D Tardigrade

One group made a 3-D model of a tardigrade using a pillowcase for the body and attaching index cards with factoids to each of the tardigrade's many feet. This model hung in my classroom all year long!

 

 

Have your own creative end-of-year project ideas? Tell us about them in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kim O’Bray teaches reading to 6th, 7th, and 8th-graders at Pittsburg Community Middle School in Pittsburg, Kansas.

A Creative Activity for the Last Days of School (with Bats!)

Geerati/Getty Images

 

Looking for a creative activity for those last weeks of the school year? We've got just the thing! After reading our fascinating short text about a famous bat colony in Texas, guide students along their own learning journey.

 

For all students

 

 

For students who want to know more about bats

HarperCollins

 

For students who want to do more descriptive writing

Here's another mesmerizing video that students can watch and then use to write their own descriptive paragraph about the scene. Challenge them to drop their readers in the scene with vivid, sensory details and to use similes, metaphors, personification, and onomatopoeia. 

A Fabulous Multimedia Project for the End of the Year

Editor's Note: Amy Sylvester's creative multimedia project is just the thing for those final weeks of the school year. After reading, discussing, and analyzing a Scope play, Amy's students turn it into a gorgeous digital flipbook by recording a reading of the play and illustrating it themselves. This fun and collaborative project can be done whether or not you're a 1:1 classroom. It calls for just a few devices and some basic software. Amy and her fellow teacher Matt Mankiewicz collaborated on this project.

I do this project at least three times a year with Scope plays—which are always a big hit in my classroom. I love this project because it builds students' reading confidence and lets them stretch their creative muscles. It's also great fun! For the example project described below, I used the The Tell-Tale Heart (based on the classic Poe story) from the September issue of the magazine.

 

What you'll need:
any Scope play, such as this one
at least one iPad or computer per group
movie editing software, such as iMovie, or presentation software, such as PowerPoint or Keynote
audio recording software, such as GarageBand

Skills:
speaking; listening; using multiple mediums, including digital media, to visually express information

Time:
5-6 class periods: 3 periods to practice reading the play and create the pictures, and another 2-3 periods to record the play, choose music and sound effects, and put the slideshow together

NOTE: By the time students do this project, they have already read and analyzed the play in class and learned about Edgar Allan Poe. 

 

1. Divide students into groups and do a practice run

  • Divide the class into groups of 8-10 students. The groups should be big enough so that each student gets at least one part. If there aren't enough parts to go around, some students can take on multiple roles.
  • Have students highlight their role(s) in the magazine so they can follow along easily.
  • Have each group read through the play once or twice for practice. By this point in the unit, they have all read the play 3-5 times before, so they are very familiar with it.
  • As the groups practice reading their roles, circulate around the room offering tips and advice.

 

 

2. Record the play

  • Once the students are comfortable reading their parts, they find a quiet spot in the classroom, gather around in a circle, and record a reading of the play.
  • You can use any audio recording software, but I like GarageBand because it's pre-loaded on our iPads. Since we are 1:1, I have all the students record the play on their own devices so that they each have their own recording to refer back to as the create their illustrations. If you are not 1:1, students can record on one device and then share the audio files with the group using Google Docs, Dropbox, etc.
  • The recording sometimes takes two tries to get it right, so this can be a little time consuming.
  • As the groups record, continue circulating around the room to make sure they are on the right track.

 

 

3. Create a storyboard

  • Students determine as a group which parts of the play they want to illustrate, considering which elements are most important and which lend themselves best to visual representation.
  • The students create a storyboard on Google Docs (so that it can be shared among the group members), sketching out what each illustration will look like.
  • Review all the completed storyboards and provide feedback to each group to help refine their ideas.
  • Once the storyboards are set, the students divide up the illustrations so that each student creates about three. Each group should end up with about 23 illustrations for a 10-minute recording.
  • I created the below document for groups to keep track of who is creating which illustrations.

 

 

4. Create illustrations and add sound effects

  • Students create their illustrations then scan them.
  • I like using iMovie to create the digital flipbook, but you can use any simple movie editing software, or even PowerPoint.
  • Students upload their images and organize them according to their storyboard.
  • At this point students also add music (iMovie has copyright-free music, but students can choose to add their own music too) to enhance the mood of the play. They can also record sound effects for extra pizzazz (such as opening a squeaky door or beating shoes against the floor to simulate clomping horses).

 

 

5. Share it out

  • Have each group share their finished product with the rest of the class. (Google Docs is an easy way to do this.)
  • Each group selects one person to talk about the group's work, walking through their process and decisions, and highlighting any challenges they encountered.
  • Because each recording is about 10 minutes long, it's impossible to share them all in class, so I post all the movies on Google Classroom so that students can watch everything on their own time.

 

 

6. Peer review

  • Assign students the task of watching 2-3 of the flipbooks and providing feedback to their peers. I think it's important for students to have an opportunity to provide constructive peer feedback. Through this process they also learn how they might approach the project differently next time.

 

By the end of the unit, even the most reluctant readers have become very confident because they have been so deeply engaged and feel they have ownership over the work. This translates to improved fluency, no matter the students' reading level. I am always surprised by the kids who typically don’t volunteer to read aloud in class but who become very engaged and perform impressively nuanced readings. And there's a part in this project for every student—more technologically inclined students can play a larger role in editing the slideshow and the sound effects, while more artistic students can help think up inventive ways to visualize the story. Even though each group is using the same source material, I'm always astonished by the diversity of the flipbooks that students produce!

 

Here's an example of a finished project:

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amy Sylvester is a 6th-grade teacher at Golden Hill Elementary School in Fullerton, California. Her fellow Golden Hill teacher Matt Mankiewicz collaborated with her on this project.

 

The Perfect Tool for Those Final Weeks of the Year: Kahoot!

Cohenworks

We are obsessed with Kahoot and we think you will be too. It's a rare tool that engages all students, is great for multiple learning styles, creates opportunities for collaboration and interaction, and makes assessment a breeze. It's also super fun. Bonus!

Kahoot quizzes are extremely versatile and can be used as fun practice with practically any Scope text. Kahoot is perfect for those last few minutes if you finish class early or for those final days before a break.

In this post, I'm going to show you how a Scope grammar activity can easily be turned into a Kahoot quiz.

 

What Is Kahoot?

For the uninitiated, Kahoot is a game-based learning platform in which a teacher's device becomes the playstation and student devices become the controllers. You create a quiz, project it for your class to see, and have students enter the answers on their devices. You can use player vs. player mode with 1:1 devices (for students to play one-on-one) or team vs. team mode on shared devices (for groups to play against one another). You can even use a screenshare platform like Skype, Google Hangouts, or Screencastify to play Kahoot with classrooms in one of the other 180 countries using Kahoot around the world. You can create your own Kahoot in the form of a quiz, survey, or discussion starter. Or you can use or adapt ready-made Kahoots from a growing public library of almost 12,000,000.

Create your free account here. (Students do not need their own accounts to play.) While you can play pre-existing Kahoots (such as my quiz) without an account, having your own account will allow you to save quiz scores and track your students' progress, and it will allow you to create your own Kahoots in the future.

I created my Kahoot quiz using questions from the activity sheet "Commonly Confused Words: Less vs. Fewer," which supports the Scope story “Grammar Steps Into a Glacier” from the December/January issue.

 

 

Here's how you can use my Scope Kahoot quiz in your classroom.

 

What You'll Need:

Teacher device (phone, tablet, desktop, or laptop)
Student devices (shared or 1:1–laptops, desktops, tablets, or phones)
Projector
Internet connection
The Scope article “Grammar Steps Into a Glacier”
My Kahoot quiz

Time:

10-15 minutes of class time

Skills:

Distinguishing between commonly-confused words

 

 

1. Read the article.

Read Scope's grammar article “Grammar Steps Into a Glacier” with your class and review the grammar rules for "less" and "fewer."

 

 

2. Choose how you want to play.

Open my Kahoot quiz on your teacher device and project it on a screen for the class to see. Make sure your speakers are on. (Yes, there's music!) Here you can decide if you want your students to play one-on-one or in teams.

 

 

3. Have students enter the pin.

A pin number will appear on your screen. Have students go to https://kahoot.it on their devices (they can also download the Kahoot app, but using a browser is just as easy) and enter the pin.

 

 

4. Have students enter their nicknames.

Students will then be prompted to enter nicknames (these can be fun and creative) on their devices. These names will show up as a list of "players" on your projected screen.

 

 

5. Play!

Once everyone has chosen a nickname, press START and enjoy!

 

 

Here's what the first question on my quiz looks like on your screen (left) and students' screens (right):

 

 

Each student will have 20 seconds to answer each question. (When you make your own quizzes, you can choose a time limit between 5 and 120 seconds.)

 

 

At the end of each question, you will see how many players answered the question correctly and incorrectly. (It was just me playing the quiz pictured here, so there's only one player answer. I got it right! Wahoo!)

 

 

At the end of the quiz you will see a scoreboard with the top five players. If you've created an account, the scores and the quiz will be saved there.

Building your own Kahoot is easy. Here's a step-by-step guide. Kahoots are a simple and fun way to practice and assess any number of skills with your class. But be warned, your students will get hooked! (And you will probably too.)

Happy grammar gaming!

 

Lauren Salisbury is a Senior Editor at Scope and a former classroom teacher.