KMS Coaches' Corner

 
Congratulations to all who attended and survived the challenges of the staff retreat at Xtreme Challenge!  What  was your reaction to the retreat?  How are you feeling about the new appraisal instrument?  What did you learn about yourself or your colleagues during the Challenge Walk?  What connections can you make to the classroom?
 
 
Have you ever looked at the scratch paper when you collect it after testing? What do you see?  “I *heart* Robbie” with a million hearts colored in? The student’s name over and over and over and over and over? Intricate highlighter designs?

Mr. Mueller has been wondering (and I agree!) if the scratch paper might be an untapped resource for our students during testing.  What can students do with the scratch paper that would help them on the Reading EOG?

·         Block off small sections of text to “chunk” it and not feel overwhelmed.
·         Cover up the answer choices and force themselves to produce an answer to the question BEFORE reading the choices. Then see which one matches best.
·         Guide their reading line by line, or paragraph by paragraph.
·         Divide or fold the paper into sections (one per passage) and write their purpose for reading, key words from the questions, or something else to refer to.
·         What else??? (Go to the coaches’ blog and share your ideas.)
 
 
How do we help prepare students for a test that requires reading and thinking stamina for hours at a time?

Remind students we have put some things in place throughout the year to help increase their ability to get in a reading “flow” – 4th period reading time, reading longer texts during class, and teaching them reading strategies to use so that they are actively involved in their reading.  Consider showing this video about effort: http://www.212movie.com/

However, students must help themselves stick with EOG reading by:
·         being actively (not passively!) involved with the reading – use the strategies/tools they have been taught (check for understanding, reread, visualize, summarize in the margins, ask questions, etc.)

·         getting an overall picture of the selection by browsing/skimming it – if they have an idea of what’s coming, they can set a goal to make it through section by section

·         having a purpose/question to drive them to finish each selection (see EOG Thought #3)

·         figuring out ahead of time what works to focus their attention back to the test: Changing positions? Reading the longer selections first?  Mental rewards after each selection? Guiding the reading with the scratch paper? A visual reminder of why they should give their best effort?

Talk to your students about this and see what advice they can offer to each other. Post additional ideas on the coaches’ blog: http://kmscoaches.weebly.com/-blog.html

 
 
 
“Okay, students, highlight (or underline) what’s important as you read!” ---

Is this the extent of your highlighting instruction?  Well, the problem is that oftentimes, students don’t know what’s important. So they highlight everything, or nothing, or useless things.

To know what’s important, students have to have a purpose for reading. Help students set a purpose for reading ahead of time.  Often, we give them the purpose for reading in class (“Read this and answer these questions.”  “Read this and look for the differences between...”  “Read this to find out how so-and-so responded to…”).  On the EOG -- and if you think about it, most often in the real world – students will need to set their own purpose for reading.  Model this and help them practice this in the next few weeks. This will determine what they highlight or underline, it will give them a little more motivation to continue reading, and it will improve comprehension.

Some possible purposes for reading an EOG passage:

·         For a Math word problem, the purpose might always be the same. You probably have a routine for them. For example: “Underline the information given to you. Highlight the information you need to find out.”

·         For Reading selections:
o    After making prediction(s) based on the title, headings, etc. à
 see if the prediction(s) is correct.

o    After asking a question before reading based on the title/skimming à
look for answers to your question(s).

o    After thinking about what you already know about the topic à
see what new and interesting information you can learn.

o    With fiction, a good purpose might be to à
look for conflict and look for details about the characters and/or significant events/choices made by the characters.


 

 
 
EOG Thought #2
Try teaching this strategy for answering multiple choice questions, and see if your students find it helpful: After reading (and rereading, and restating) the question, cover up the answer choices and try to produce an answer to the question on your own BEFORE reading the choices.  So instead of immediately reading the four (or 3) answer choices, answer the question first. During practice, you might want to write down your answer right next to the question. Then uncover each answer choice one by one and see which one best matches your answer.
 
 
Post your comments about the EOG Thought below!

EOG Thought #1
Are you reading the questions and/or answer choices out loud to your students?  If so.... I ask, "Why?"  Unless your answer is "to stop and model/think aloud HOW to read slowly, reread, interpret, and restate questions"  or unless your answer is "because my group has a read aloud modification in Math" -- then I'm going to suggest you stop.    Reading questions and answers out loud to students deprives them of the opportunity to practice doing it themselves. Now, in order to practice something, they need to be taught first, right? So, talk to students about the language, structure, etc. of the questions. Model a few and show them how you "translate" them. But then require students to read them independently. Of course you can go back to them to reread or to clear up confusion. But make them do the work.
 
 
What was the most valuable piece of information or skill you learned during the professional development week in December?  Share with your colleagues here!
 
 
Let's use this as a forum for sharing ideas about how to cut our paper use even more.  Per Dr. B's email: "We have more technology available than any school except KIS. This should allow us to cut copies. At the current rate we will increase the number of copies for this school year with 2 less teachers and 30ish less kids."

We know there are teams/departments out there thinking creatively and adjusting planning and instruction. Please share ideas and questions here!

 
 
Now that you have your CPS student response system, how do you use it for authentic, formative assessment?  What have you found to be a strength of the new system?  How do you take advantage of the capability of text responses?
 

Research

04/09/2009

7 Comments

 

This is the research season!  Many of you are shepherding your students through a research project.  What strategies have you found that really help the kids with the process?  Anything from choosing topics to developing questions to selecting resources to taking notes to citing sources to putting it all together...   Share any ideas, or questions and issues you've run into.