Test Prep Rewind: 2 Weeks of STAAR Writing Review

It’s done.  Our two weeks of test prep are over.  It went by so quickly that I hardly even remember it!  I took some pictures of my kiddos as they worked this week.

They thoroughly enjoyed the task cards I made.  And the best part of it was the conversations I heard as I walked around, listening in on what they had to say.  It’s always nice to hear them discussing the reasons why they choose their answer AND why the other answers are wrong.  To me, that speaks volumes to the amount that they actually know.  They were able to explain and justify all of their answers.  Here are some pics of them with their task cards this week.

photo 2(2) photo 3(2) photo 4(2) photo 5(1)

Any time I can use QR codes, I do it.  My kids LOVE using their iPads to check their work.  Even though they are doing the EXACT SAME THING as they do on a worksheet, they think it’s “so much fun!!!”  Silly kids!  😉

On Friday, I was limited to only about an hour and a half for each of my two groups (for math AND writing) due to interruptions in our schedule, so I had to change my plans.  We went ahead and drew our pictures of the STAAR graders.  One the left side of their pictures, they drew how they looked after reading countless boring, unorganized, repetitive, and unfocused papers–BEFORE they read their papers.  On the right side they drew how the STAAR grader looked after reading their AH-mazing papers!  They crack me up.

photo photo 2(3) photo 3(3) photo 5(2) photo 1(2)

You have to click on the pictures to make them bigger to REALLY see what they drew.  Some of them are hilarious!  😉  They had a great time, and our time together was full of smiles and laughs.  What a great way to end the week!

Tomorrow, we will do our gallery walk.  I’m going to print several of the writing samples that I have here on my blog for them to look at and discuss.  Before we do that, we will take a look at the narrative and expository STAAR writing rubrics and talk about what makes a 3 or 4 point paper.  Why waste time on the 1 and 2, right?  They will see that they are ALL capable of writing a 3 or 4 once our discussion is over.  I need them to KNOW that they can do it.  Confidence is key going into this test.  I don’t want nervous kids–I want kids that know that they can ROCK that test!

As an added bonus, I will have them write down which score they think the papers should receive.  I’m using papers that should probably score a 3 or 4.  No matter how much you look at the rubric, it’s all still subjective.  That’s why they have 2 graders look at them, and they may or may not agree with each other on the scores.  Funny how that works, huh?!

Here are some links to some papers I will be using tomorrow:

Narrative Writing Samples: A Positive Note Home, Please, Blog post with 3 narrative samples (open in Word).

Expository Writing Samples: Go Meet Your Teacher Night, Football, Summer, Dance Season, Winter, Fantastic Friends, Multi-Tool Knife

You are welcome to use these if you are going to do a gallery walk, but I would suggest using your own students’ writing to make it more personal.  However–I know how it is to have to look back through a bunch of papers to try to find some worth posting!  That’s one reason I’m glad I have a blog.  It helps me keep track of things like that and makes it so much easier to go back and print things.

If you don’t like those, I have several posts that link to both narrative and expository writing samples.  You can search for them at the top right side of your screen.

What are your plans (those of you who are from Texas) for the last day before THE test?  What else do I need to do?  Do you have a cute/creative way to pump them up?  I would LOVE to know!

If I don’t hear from you before Tuesday, GOOD LUCK!!  May the odds be ever in your favor!  😉

signature

Narrative Writing Sample from STAAR 2013

Ladies and gentlemen, let me share with you an awesome narrative paper written to the 2013 STAAR prompt.

We gave our students a benchmark back at the beginning of February, and their prompts were the released STAAR prompts from last year.  One of my students wrote an AH-mazing paper about the simplest thing–getting a positive note home to her parents in her behavior folder from the teacher next door.

I thought this one was worth sharing.  There are lots of lessons that can be taught using this piece, including vocabulary, idioms, and mostly–how to write long about a small moment or something that seems insignificant to most…something that makes the paper so incredibly interesting.  :)

Click here to download and/or view.  Congrats to Sherlyn, the author!  Isn’t she just awesome?!

signature

More Expository Writing Samples (4th Grade)

Whew!  I’ve been sitting for a couple of hours typing up some expository writing samples from my kids since so many people are still needing lots of examples.  And…of course…I can use them in my class, too.  It’s great to use REAL student writing in class to show what is working and what isn’t.

Some of you have asked when we started expository writing–well, we began way back in October.  We flip back and forth throughout the year between the two types of writing.  We spend an average of 4-5 weeks on narrative, and then move on to expository, and so on.  Now that we are getting closer and closer to test time, we are only spending a couple of weeks on each.  There are even days/weeks where we do both.  I’ll be posting soon about an activity called “Genre Switch” where kids write for just a small amount of time in both genres.

For now, I’m posting several expository writing pieces that my students have written to various topics.  Some of these were written as their choice of 3 writing prompts, and others were written on the students’ last writing benchmark.  The benchmark prompt was the prompt that our students were given last year on their STAAR test (our official standardized test–for those of you who don’t live in Texas).

I had already given them that topic as a choice, so some of them already had prior experience writing to that topic.  The funny thing about it is: most of them wrote something completely different, even though I’ve told them that they don’t have to…and frankly, if they have already had positive feedback, they should write the same thing, but even better the next time around!

So, without further ado…here they are:

Christmas Eve by Daniel

Dance Season by Aaliyah

Fantastic Friends by Blake

Folklorico by Daniella

Football by Chris R

Friends by Abram

Friends by Gasseli

Go Meet Your Teacher Night by Avery

HALLOWEEN by Gasseli

Summer by Annaleah

Summer by Kylie

Winter by Sherlyn

These samples are simply in alphabetical order.  They are not grouped by topic or by awesomeness.  You can pick and choose which ones you want to use, or you can print them all and use all of them with your kiddos and talk about what was great and what needs improvement.  You could even use them with some revising and editing!

Some of you have waited patiently for me to finally get these posted…for that…THANK YOU!  It takes some time to get these gathered up, pick out which ones should be posted, type them, and get them up on the blog.  Please feel free to share these with other people that you know.  They will always be right here on my blog, so you can always save paper and just project them from here.

As always, my students (and I) love your feedback!  If there was something that you really liked, please leave a comment letting us know!  I show my blog to my students so that they can see who is showcased and how many people around the world are looking at their AH-mazing work!  😉

ENJOY!

Other posts you might like:

Expository Writing at its Finest; Expository Writing Samples; The First Installment of Writing Samples; Narrative vs. Expository Writing

signature

Expository Writing At Its Finest!

Another quick post tonight. I just HAD to share this with you. One of my 4th graders wrote this paper about her lifetime friend, and it is beautiful…just beautiful! The prompt was to explain why friends are important. Here goes:

Before I went to school friends were my smooth, plastic, pretty dolls. The ones I would have tea parties with, show my new teeth to, and the ones I would tell my fears to. Even though they were plastic, they were important to me, not only were they my friends they were my whole childhood.

Once I got to 2nd grade I got a beautiful pal that really meant a lot to me.  Surprizingly she was not plastic, and her name was *Molly*.  She made me think, “Wow, she is so fun, smart, and cool.” (Boom, triple compliment!) And the one I would share secrets with, show our wiggly teeth to, and share our journeys with.

Now that I am in fourth grade she is still my fun, crazy, funny, pretty, best friend.  And she still means the world to me.  We have sobbed together, cackled together, and we have been on a long journey together.  We have changed but our friendship has not.  Now we talk about gymnastics, fashion, celebraties, and things we never thought of before.

In the future i hope we could still be besties so we can go shopping, on a vacation, and even to college together and we can talk about our future together.  Even if we are not friends in the future, I will always remember my pretty, sweet, funny and cute best sister by heart.

WOW!  Isn’t that amazing?!?!  A FOURTH GRADER WROTE THAT!!!  I’m attaching this in PDF format for you to share with your students if you need some writing to share.  😉  You can download it here.

**Just a reminder that you can enter my TpT giveaway until 2/6.  You can get an extra 2 entries every day that you tweet about it!  Enter here.

signature

From This to That: Narrative Upgrades

Not much writing for you tonight–just some samples of student work from the last couple of weeks before the Christmas break.  I took before and after pictures of my students’ writing.  I decided to let you actually see what their writing looks like–what we started from and how they made changes to complete their final copy.  For more information on what we did in between the rough draft and final copy, click here.  Enjoy!

Abram 1

Abram-Draft

Abram 2

Abram-Final Copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew 1

Andrew-Draft

Andrew 2

Andrew-Final Copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chelsea 1

Chelsea-Draft

Chelsea 2

Chelsea-Final Copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daliyah 1

Daliyah-Draft

Daliyah 2

Daliyah-Final Copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Destiny 1

Destiny-Draft

Destiny 2

Destiny-Final Copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Julian 1

Julian-Draft

Julian 2

Julian-Final Copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

McKeanne 1

McKeanne-Draft

McKeanne 2

McKeanne-Final Copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tony 1

Tony-Draft

Tony 2

Tony-Final Draft

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are the final products after going back and trying to focus on only ONE event, and then adding in thoughtshots and snapshots.  They appear small in the post, but if you click on them you can read them much better when they enlarge on the screen.  I’m so proud of the work that these kiddos have done so far.  Looking forward to a fun new semester…and learning even more!

signature

Narrative Student Writing Samples (4th Grade)

Here it is: the post you’ve all been waiting for–the one I’ve promised for some time now!  STUDENT WRITING SAMPLES!!!  😉

I don’t have a lot of time today, but I wanted to go ahead and post these samples for those of you who have been waiting on me to post them.  Our internet is still not working at my house, so I’m having to type this quickly (after school hours) on my school computer.

These are samples for our first narrative of the school year.  These kids stood out above the rest, so I wanted to show off their mad writing skills.  Here they are:

Stealing Candy  A narrative written by Blake Sterling.

Go Kart Race  A narrative written by Andrew Pensiero.

Is It Me  A narrative written by Avery May.

Yes, I have permission from these students and their parents to post their work with their names.  They are all super sweet kids who are totally stoked that I am using their papers as examples for the world to see.  They were even made famous in a workshop presented by Gretchen Bernabei!  You will see them on her blog soon if you visit www.bernabeiwritingtools.com.

Enjoy!

signature