Okay, I admit. I’m in test mode. So here’s the deal…
When I first started teaching, I was in a district and school where the expectation was to gather data. I believe this is vital to the success of the student, and over the years at my current placement I have worked hard to identify elements to help students be successful on the test. I’ve been using RUNNERS for about eight years, and I feel it is a huge part of the success my students have seen in terms of reading comprehension. So, I’m teaching RUNNERS to my students. If you are interested, I have placed it where you can find it at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/RUNNERS-Reading-Strategy-Teaching-Supplies. I teach this slowly at first, but we use it on passages throughout the semester. Starting next Friday, we are going to be working on one RUNNERS Reading Comprehension Drill a week. I don’t have all the details worked out, but I’m looking at trying to find current events articles that thematically relate to what we are using in class. Common Core? You betcha.
Next, I think there are test questions which can be answered based on the question itself and the answer choices. All the students need to do is understand what they are being asked in order to answer it. When I interview students after not testing as well as they would like, I get to the specifics of questions. I would say 99% of the time, the student says they did not understand what the question was asking. I tried using what I called Poe (like Edgar), but really that was just fancy for “process of elimination.” I was not seeing what I was hoping, so I was relieved when visiting another school a science teacher was using RAMS. Now, I have not a clue where this came from, and I have visited so many schools that I can’t even be certain in which school I saw this. Never the less, I started using it two years ago and have seen great gains with it. So, we’re going to use it in conjunction with our Friday RUNNERS.
Other idea for test mode? Testing Tuesdays. Each Tuesday we are going to look at a sample stand-alone EOC question for the purposes of analyzing RAMS and, hopefully, improving student ability on those questions on the actual test. I will use the gradual release in looking at a model to show my thinking process, a we do for me to guide them, a we do take two for them to guide me, and then two questions for them to do alone. Hopefully this will help with teaching skills and test strategies at the same time.
I have testing ideas for the other days, but I am thinking I need to wait and roll out the newbies slowly so as to not rock the structure we have in place. I’ll give you more on those ideas as they come, but I’m thinking about one specific test-related task a day…
Our objectives also have this weird standard asking about foreign words and phrases, so I am going to create short films – one minute each – to teach an assigned foreign word or phrase each day. I envision this beings something like the old “The More You Know” commercials from my childhood. Creating the videos will take some effort, so I’m going to start with doing two a week. Since we do SSR three times a week, I can use the other two days on foreign words and phrases to help students master them.
I will post all of this stuff out there, but this is the start of test mode and the steps I am planning to take starting Monday. So, with 10 weeks to the EOC, I will keep you posted.
I’m working on this. I promise. My goal for the weekend is to get these files posted at Kirk’s Corner.