Sunday, January 30, 2011

When there is NO Choice

Testing is a a part of a teacher's life. I detest the once and let's hope everyone passes way of accountability that NCLB has brought, however, it is still there. In September 2010 I guest blogged on Two Writing Teachers and discussed my journey with the state writing test.  If you would like to read it, click here.

Today's post is about how often my kids practice prompt writing after finishing their personal essay.

After I introduce the box and bullet frame, my students practice framing an essay until every child can accomplish this goal without teacher prompt or reteaching.  (It takes about 5-7 school days) Then I show the kids the practice booklet and we talk about flipping through the pages, etc.  I only practice writing two prompt essays. I have come to believe that teaching the writer great writing skills throughout the school year is what creates an accomplished writer and our data has proven it.

In addition, I teach my kids one more thing. What to do when you get stuck. Katherine Bomer in Writing A Life (chapter 9) explains how to use a well written memoir to fit any prompt. This is crucial to teach your kids. Every year I have one or two kids who use this method because of anxiety or drawing a blank on the day of the test.

Preparing kids for the writing test is simply done from the moment your students arrive in your classroom. It is nothing to fear because if you are teaching kids how to write well, they will achieve success.

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