Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Writing a D.A.R.E. Essay

After several weeks in DARE class, students have to write an essay about the class.  Students are instructed by Deputy Dale Thomas from the Pickaway County Sheriff Department.  Deputy Thomas has taught students about resisting drugs and peer pressure for the last 15 years.  Deputy Thomas does a super job helping students learn valuable life skills, in a fun and interactive way.

The essay is a time for students to think about what they have learned in D.A.R.E.  The essay should include how students feel about the program, what they learned that will help them be drug free, and why it is important to make good choices.

The format should include:

1.  Introduction tells what knowledge and skills students have learned;
2.  Body with details about the class and why it is important;
3.  Conclusion that summarizes the essay and includes a pledge statement.

The D.A.R.E. book is a great resource to help remember important facts and information.

Monday, April 23, 2012

You Are A Success Story

Students in Reading Workshop have made amazing progress this year.  You should feel good about your success!  What has made you successful?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Free Advise or Advice

Here is some free advice--take a little time to check your spelling.  In the previous post, I used the wrong word, leading students to use the wrong word.  Needless to say, not exactly a shining moment for a teacher but at least it was a teachable moment.

As stated on Zozanga English Forum:

Advice & Advise

The words advice and advise are often mixed up, which is quite understandable since they have similar spellings and meanings.

'Advice' is a noun: you can give someone a 'piece of advice'. For example, let me give you some advice about travelling in China.

'Advise' is a verb: He advised me to always keep my passport on me when I was in China. His advice was very useful.

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Are You Ready to be Tested?

In Reading Workshop, students have read passages, wrote and rewrote answers, and been "practiced up" into submission.   They dream at night of "back in the day" when language arts was about reading and writing, thinking and discussing.  Their dreams are of a time before legislators decided schools and their students should be controlled by torture/testing. 

Students have been working hard, preparing for the Ohio Achievement Assessment and they are surviving.  Not only are they surviving, but they are getting smarter.  They are reading critically, and attacking questions to find the point.  They are shredding selections to find those details that earn all 4 points on  an extended response question.  Best of all is they are learning words, and they are much better than the words they learned on the back of the bus in third grade.

Good job students!  Tuesday is the day and your success on the test will make me smile.

Here's a chance to help your peers, Reading Workshop students.  What advise advice do you have to help your classmates on the reading test?

This post had been edited.  See Free Advise or Advice for details.

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Why You Need to Use Your Strategies

She told the teacher giving her the practice test, "I don't need to look back.  I know the answer."  And maybe she did.  I will know today when we start to score the Ohio Reading Achievement Assessment practice tests.  She might have gotten a perfect score, but probably not.

The OAA doesn't test how smart you are.  It doesn't test your reading.  It doesn't show if you are a good student or not.  It doesn't show if I am a good teacher or not.  The OAA shows how well students can use test taking strategies.  That's pretty much it.  When the whole achievement test process is over, basically the student, the teacher, the school, and the district will be judged on how well students used test taking strategies.

Don't get me wrong, being a good reader and writer helps, but without using test taking skills, it won't get you a good score.  Why else would a lot of teachers drill and kill all year using achievement test passages and questions?  They want to get you "practiced up" so you can score well.

So back to this student.  Do you think she scored well?  If she didn't use the most basic strategy of going back in the passage to find/verify her answer, then I have to wonder what other strategies she ignored.  And knowing this is a test of students' ability to use test strategies, I know she could score higher than she did if she had used all of the strategies she knows.  

What about you Reading Workshop students?  What strategies did you use?   How did it work out for you?

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What's Sad is They Think They are So Cute

Students in Reading Workshop are taking the Practice Sixth Grade Reading Ohio Achievement Assessment.  We attempt to make this as realistic as possible just to give students a chance to go through the process, see how they do, and give us some data for final preparations for the actual test.  This practice run through has proven beneficial to teachers and students.

Most of the twenty students that I monitored worked hard and the results will show them and me their ability and potential to pass the actual test.  I took a look across the hall though, and saw a different story.  Two boys spent the last hour of the test goofing around.  They were obviously bored, so they spent the time trying to distract peers.  

I am not sure why they thought they didn't need to work.  I am not sure why the teacher didn't notice their repeated attempts to distract peers.  The bottom line was they thought they were so cute and so funny.  And that's sad because they were just unmotivated and unsuccessful.  Is there any chance they will grow up in three weeks?  I guess we can always hope.  

What about you hard workers?  Why did you choose to press the success key?

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