No Way Jose and That's a Fact, Jack!
Last year, a teacher at my school introduced me to the phrase and activity "No Way Jose" and "That's a Fact, Jack". Students are given a set of statements that they must determine to be accurate (that's a fact, Jack!) or false (no way, Jose!). Students work collaboratively to sort the statements into two piles and discuss their reasons.
This can be used for all academic purposes and is a great formative assessment.
I used it last year as a formative assessment for our state wide science test. There were a lot of concepts that were covered on the test but not enough time to fully teach or review all of the science material they were supposed to get from kinder on up. So I had students work as table teams to sort the statements while I walked around with a clip board, making note of which concepts would need quick clarification and which ones would require more extensive review. I allotted fifteen minutes for this activity, but it ended up taking almost forty because students were having such great discussions (and I hated to cut them off).
This year, I'm starting the year off with a team building activity. After going over the expectations (noise level, cooperation, effort, clean up, gallery walks, etc), I will have students work collaboratively to sort out the fifth grade myths from the facts. They will do this on the third day of school when we've covered most of the procedures and norms for the grade level. I'll give them about ten minutes to sort, then have students do a gallery walk to see each other's ideas. The expectation during gallery walks is that it's okay to point and disagree (respectfully) with another table's findings, but it's not okay to change their work. We will then go over the answers as a class and I'll use that time to clarify any myths surrounding fifth grade.
Here is a sample of the sort:
I made it in word as a table. Once completed, each sort will be three pages long. I'll print multiple copies in different colors, that way when I inevitably find that one forgotten slip, it will be easy to return it to the proper bag. Not that students ever forget to fully pick up centers :)
I'm hoping it adds more joy into our day and helps students to work on collaborating with one another.