Friday, February 8, 2013

Preparing For State Testing

March means the beginning of state testing in Indiana. Therefore, in February, teachers are looking at ways to be sure their students are ready for those tests. One thing many of them do is to do a unit of study on the genre of test taking skills. When students in writing workshops think about doing prompt writing, they know it is just another way of writing. Just like they would write differently when writing a narrative piece or informational piece, they would also write differently for prompt writing. Their audience is entirely different.

One of the ways I love starting this unit is to have children look back at the prompts they did the year before or at another time. When they know what Good Writing looks like, they  know what they should be looking for in these pieces. So, first review as a class what good writing is by making a chart. Looking at a typed text or another good example of a prompt writing from the year before, gives them something to jog their memory.

After that, partners take the pieces that they did the year before and take that piece to review. Together the partners answer the questions in the following questionnaire, being aware of what makes good writing. After they do one piece, they do the same with the other. In this way, students have a chance to see what they need to do in this year's prompt writing.

Discussing what the partners found in a whole group situation and making a class chart, helps to make the work concrete. The next day students could be given that same prompt and "try again" to write to it.  They would be encouraged to include things that the former piece did not have in it!

Here is the Questionnaire

Work with a partner.  Reread and study this piece of writing.  Answer the questions below.  You may use the writing chart in your room.

 1. What type of beginning did the writer use? ___________________

 2. Draw lines to separate the beginning, middle and end?

     Which part is the longest? ______________________________

 3. Write an example of a “WOW” word or dynamic word from the piece. ________________________________________________

 4. Did the writer have:                              YES              NO

 Names for the characters                   _____          _____

 Specific names for places                    _____          _____

 Details to “paint a picture in your mind”      _____          _____

 Long story                                          _____          _____

 Show, Don’t Tell                                                      _____    _____

 5. Underline at least one example of Speaking in red; Action in blue, and Thinking in green.

 6. List how the writer used “Power of 3”. ______________________

7. Write a sound word the writer used – onomatopoeia. ____________

 8. What type of ending did the piece have? ________________________

1 comment:

Lou Ann Homan said...

Kathy, do you have a discussion of the five paragraph essay? Where will I find that on your blog? Thank you, s always! Great job!