I'll start by briefly discussing the PRACTICE writing assessment that we took this week. On Wednesday, students were given the actual District Writing Assessment (Narrative) prompt and then asked to jot down some notes about their narrative for homework. All students were provided with a "Personal Story Worksheet" and a blank plot diagram to ready themselves for the practice assessment. In conjunction with the other middle school English teachers in the district, this assignment was sent home; every English teacher is giving the same assessment in the same way. Individual teachers, however, have the freedom to give a practice assessment or to not give a practice assessment. Every seventh and eighth grade student receives the prompt and planning sheet the class period before the assessment and has the night to map their story. The next day, students have the entire class period to write; they may use their notes if they bring them. While I understand that this can be stressful for students, this on-demand style of writing mimics both in-school and real-world writing. If I'm being honest, ALL of my students are able to do this particular style of writing in the time period provided and be successful. They all have prior knowledge about plot elements, both from my class this year and from previous years. Will this be the best story they've ever written? Is this their favorite way to write a story? Will this story be about what they wanted to write about? Probably not, but we're looking at our students' understanding of the elements of plot and we have to have parameters to even the playing field across the district.
Question for the dinner table/drive home:
1. What work still needs to be done on the Book Talk slideshow? How are you and your group going to get this done? What is your plan?
2. What can you do to personally prepare for presentations this week? Have you practiced reading the words out loud?
3. How are your grades looking on Power School? Show me. What can you do to make up any missing work?
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