- Acrostic Poem – Students choose a word related to the given topic. Each line of the poem begins with a letter from the chosen word.
- Comparing/Contrasting – Ask students to do these things individually. You will be amazed at how they have been trained to compare AND contrast all the time. The first time I asked my students to contrast percents and decimals, over half of my class told me things that were similar between them and not what was different.
- Explaining to Pop Culture Person/Group – I love the creativity flowing from students when asked to explain something to Lady Gaga or LeBron James. They look at you strangely the first time you ask them to do this, but it’s amazing the things they come up with. This year my student’s favorite pop culture prompt has been to “Explain the difference between area and perimeter to Katniss Everdeen.” (She’s the main character in The Hunger Games.)
- Compose a Catchy Jingle – This will appeal to your musical students, but I have also had students rap a jingle, too, instead of sing. You may need to play some popular jingles they would hear on the radio or TV to get them started on this.
- Retelling a Process from Point of View – This is one of my personal favorites. Students are asked to retell a process or explain something from the point of view of a related object. For example, “Retell how to add fractions from the point of view of the denominator.” Right off the bat it tells you if students know their vocabulary and can put themselves in the shoes of the “basement number” and explain the process.
- Six-Word Summary – This is exactly what it says: six words that summarize, which really makes students think. For example a six-word summary for solving equations could be “Get the variable all by itself,” or “Inverse operations move variable to isolation.” Try one – it’s tricky!
- Three Facts and a Fib – Students write three truths and one lie about a topic. I did this just last week asking students to write three facts and a fib about triangles for homework. The next day in class they exchanged papers with a neighbor and had to identify the fib as an opening activity.