Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Common Core Test Prep

With the Common Core, we're all unsure of how exactly are students are going to be assessed.  Until the tests get seen in public, our students' work scored, there's only speculation.  With that said, there have been samples that have been released and information keeps coming out.

The one area I've continued to see is on text complexity.  Students are expected to be working with texts at much deeper levels than their current reading level.  They should be talking about and exploring texts to build their skills.  With scaffolding, students are able to build their skills that are needed to comprehend and decode these texts.

With my RtI students, I'm trying to work to bridge that gap with them.  One thing I've found with my students is that they don't often understand the questions that are being asked of them.  Or, alternatively, they don't answer the questions that are being asked of them.  We spend many hours working on dissecting the questions and framing their answers so they are better able to demonstrate that they know what they're reading.  One strategy I use with my students is PQA.
We use it at my school to remind students to fully answer the question by putting the question in the answer.  It's a common acronym and it's terrific for our RtI kids who aren't always able of articulating their answer in complete sentences without it.  You can click on the picture above to come over to my blog and learn a little more about it and to download the poster for yourself.
I also developed some comprehension passages and questions that help us practice this skill with our second graders.  While they don't take the big scary test, we want them to see questions in similar formats.  It also helps prepare them for all of third grade.  A sample page is below.
You can click on that picture to head over to my blog to see another couple pages and download two pages that you are able to use with your kiddos.  While they don't completely meet those text complexity heights, they prepare students with the skills they need to tackle those more difficult texts.

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