What to do if students already know the content

We have four basic questions we ask on my campus. Loosely stated, they are: What do we want the students to know? How do we know when they know it? What do we do with those who already know it? What do we do for students struggling to know it? I seem to struggle the most with “What do we do when they already know it?”

So, what do you do? How do you use Formative to advance students who need it- already had the material, gifted and talented, etc.? (Without them feeling like they are just getting more work.)

As we are currently reading Romeo & Juliet, I notice every year that many students come to me having already read the play. With that in mind, I have been working on an extension activity that would help assess their actual knowledge of the work as well as use their critical and creative thinking skills and writing skills. It is still a work in progress, but I have shared it in hopes of giving others a possible idea as well as getting feedback on how you think I could improve upon it. This is for 9th graders.

An Investigation into the Deaths of Romeo & Juliet: You be the Judge Clone Code: XAWZYJ or https://goformative.com/clone/XAWZYJ]

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This is an AWESOME formative, Susan :slight_smile: I really like how you encourage your students to become detectives and come to their own conclusion given the crime. The prompts you give are enticing and hit multiple DOK levels! I can see how they’ll help you assess reading comprehension, analysis, and allow students to be creative in their approach.

As a quick follow up, I was wondering how you plan on rolling out this activity. For example, are you going to have students complete the formative over a series of days as others are reading the story? Perhaps there’s a way you can have the students in this “extension” group collaborate with the students who are reading the story for the first time. For example, maybe the students who are reading the story can write summaries and analysis of each chapter. Then, the students in the “extension” group could read these summaries and draw “evidence” (from these “witnesses”). Later, students in the “extension” group could present their investigation and the others could provide “testimonies” - having just read the story.

I am getting a little carried away here, but thought it might be interesting to explore :joy: I’d love to hear if others have suggestions or ideas for your activity or for using Formative for extension activities in general. I’m tagging @ela_educators in here, but of course others are welcome to reply as well!

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@david you asked:

I really like these ideas.
In the past it has been a limited number of students who take on this challenge. They appreciate that they don’t have to “stay with the class” and read along with something they have already read. Because of this, I often allow them to determine how they approach the activity. Some have teamed up to complete the investigation, some have spoken with students in class who are reading it or ask questions of the whole class as we stop and talk about aspects of the scene we are currently reading. Some students research the role of women during this time period and try to learn more about Verona in an effort to get a better insight overall. I enjoy watching them taking steps and assessing what to do next.

Thank you for for such positive feedback and great ideas.

I would love to hear other ideas from @ela_educators.


That’s so awesome to hear! I love how you give students flexibility in how they approach this project and in deciding what will help them solve the crime!