The week is over for us, and we managed to complete the Common Core expository writing assignment. Amazing success – all but two students completed essay. The two who did not complete it had everything except the conclusion. Now, this worked because of a little motivational strategy I like to refer to as, “The Goods.” Any time we have a major project or essay due, I have some sort of treat for those who complete it. Such a tiny thing to do, but it means a lot to the students. Today I had brownies.
After turning in the essay, we went to the computer to take the digital Common Core Discovery Education Full Year Test B. Here is the interesting thing about this: We have massive data reports due on a regular basis, but the school/state has not officially transitioned to Common Core yet. The test, therefore, is at a much higher text complexity and proves more of a challenge for many of the kids. I believe all but one student tried his or her best, and I am looking forward to seeing the data. Yet this begs the questions because Common Core assessments tend to not be adequate in predicting mastery of the Tennessee State English I EOC. Based on what I know, I think the data will show lower than what I might have anticipated when the students take the EOC benchmarks. Additionally, I have worked diligently to teacher the RUNNERS reading comprehension strategy and the RAMS testing strategy. I have gone so far as to make students write on the test and REFUSED to give them a scantron until I saw evidence of RUNNERS and RAMS on their tests. I have, as a result, seen great growth over the few years I have used these strategies. Unfortunately, on the computer screen, the students were unable to complete RUNNERS and RAMS. Additionally, the question is on the screen but the passage and not, discouraging students from verifying the answer by consulting the text. And then the readings are incredibly long for the few questions asked. I look forward to the data, but I am skeptical of its predictability.
Alas, the weather has taken a plunge, and we have another snow day tomorrow. I have not used a snow day ever (child of the South), and it is a complete thrill to get to have a snow day to spend with my family and working on stuff for school over the break.
Happy three-day weekend to us!