The State Writing Test

Weeks of build up have finally culminated today with the writing test.  We spent the last two days reviewing and writing.  It’s pretty uncomfortable preping the students for a writing test when you don’t know what genre it will be on until the morning of the test.  For those of you playing along at home, here were the possibilities: narrative summary, expository summary, fictional narrative, personal narrative, and response to literature.

When I arrived at school this morning my VP said I could pick up the test.  You know the first thing I did was to see what genre it was.  Turns out it was expository summary.  Not too bad.  But one thing that will hurt them is that they have to read a piece first.  A lot of my students are struggling readers, and reading a long passage like the one in the test will be difficult.

So that’s what they are doing now.  They are all quietly reading the passage, circling important words, and listing them in their thinking map.  Some of them might do okay.  But honestly, it looks like a few students have circled way too many “important” words.

It makes for a quiet morning.

* * * * *

Looking around, most are finally finishing (more than an hour later).  We’ve already missed our recess because only about 8 were finished at that time.  Ideally, there should only be about 4 not finished, and those 4 can be escorted to another room while the rest of the class has recess.  But in all the 4th grade classes there were too many students not finished.  So someone came in to let me use the bathroom, and they’ll check back in about 14 minutes to see if we can go to recess.

At this point, I see a lot of students with long lists of important words (too long, in fact) that they have to put into sentences to summarize the passage.  One boy’s summary I think will be longer than the original text.

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