A constructed response cube lets kids practice – and have some fun! When they roll the die, engagement improves. Soon they’ll be writing paragraphs like pros.
Let’s look in on our favorite teacher, Ms. Sneed. Her head bends over her lesson plans. Then she sighs deeply.
It’s those dreaded constructed responses again. The kids hate them. What can she do to make answering questions more fun?
Ms. Sneed takes a spin on Pinterest. Boring. Boring. Bo- Wait! Ms. Sneed spots something interesting. Kids roll a die with parts of a response on each side. Then they answer orally. Oh yeah. No writing. Her class will be all over this.
Ms. Sneed pulls out her answering questions unit and adapts the next lesson. This will be fun!
Constructed Response Cube 1: Ask Questions
“Today,” Ms. Sneed tells her class, “you will build a constructed response cube. This will take the place of writing paragraphs.” She pauses as kids start murmuring excitedly to one another.
“Shh, let’s get started. Now each side of the cube will ask a specific question. For example, the first side says, ‘What topic sentence would you use for this response?’ Since we’re using this as a game, you can answer orally.”
“Will you put us in groups, or can we choose our own?” asks a student from the middle of the class.
“You’ll work with your seatmate this time. Together, you’ll build the cube. For today’s questions, each seatmate gets two rolls.”
Soon, everyone busily builds their cubes. Then they start rolling.
Ms. Sneed circulates around the room, listening in.
“Bad is the answer,” says one student.
“Wait a minute,” replies her seatmate. “Ms. Sneed says you’re supposed to use question parts.”
“Oh, all right. Mole felt bad – no, guilty – when he tipped over the boat.”
“That’s better,” smirks the seatmate. Ms. Sneed smiles to herself. This game is working!
Constructed Response Cube 2: Respond
A week later, Ms. Sneed tries the second cube. “Today,” she tells her class, “each of you will build your own response cube.”
“Yay! I liked that project!” exclaims a boy from the side of the room.
“Each of the six sides lists part of a response. Before cutting or taping, you’ll fill in the parts. If you want, you can draw related pictures or color the sides.” The kids smile, nod, and start taking out their crayons.
“First, read the story. Then look at the board. I’ll write the question there. And you can get started.”
Everyone reads quietly for a while. As they finish, they set to work.
“Um, Kevin, remember I said to respond before cutting?”
Ms. Sneed moves from desk to desk. She looks at their work, asks questions, and comments.
“That’s a really specific citation, Jamie,” she says.
“Thanks, Ms. S. I remembered that you said we could use a page or paragraph number. So I thought it would be even better if I used both.”
Ms. Sneed smiles to herself. Sometimes, her ideas for instruction are brilliant.
More Alternatives to Constructed Response
Over the course of her career, Ms. Sneed realized that there were 6 steps to enjoy teaching. In order to survive, she had to organize, plan, and simplify. Then, to thrive, Ms. Sneed needed to learn, engage, and finally – dive in! Follow the Fabulous Teaching Adventures of Ms. Sneed and learn how you can enjoy teaching too.