STAAR Writing Prompt Study

OK, I need to take just a small bit of your time to brag on my kiddos tonight.  Nothing big to most people, but it was a HUGE step in the right direction in my eyes!

Today our students had to participate in a Writing Prompt Study from the state. I didn’t really know what to expect, and like all standardized tests we give, we aren’t allowed to look at what they are doing.  The only thing we ARE allowed to do is read the writing prompt to them.  Other than that…NOTHING!

So…I have no idea how they actually did, but I do know one thing.  Nobody freaked out.  Everyone wrote SOMETHING.  And best of all…NOBODY raised their hand and asked, “Do I HAVE to plan my paper?” or “What are these blank pages for?”  THAT, my friends, is accomplishment!  I think this is the first year that ALL of the students wrote a plan and didn’t ask questions about it.

Did they all write on topic?  I will probably never know, but I’m just so darn proud of the fact that they were able to come up with ways to organize their papers and NOT stress about it.  We have done so much work preparing for the “real deal,” and I hope this success continues!  We still have 3 weeks to upgrade our writing and try out new text structures.

I know I say this all the time, but I feel like I owe everything my students know to Gretchen Bernabei.  This is the first year that I have used her resources consistently, and it has paid off BIG TIME for my students.  Her resources WORK.  Not just for my kids, but for kids of all ages.  You know…she actually teaches middle school…but the methods she uses work for ANY age.  If you haven’t looked into her stuff, DO IT NOW!  It’s never too late to try something new!

I have lots of her resources already posted on my Writer’s Workshop page.  I’ve even had teachers email me about how to use those resources.  I’ve had hour-long conversations with teachers over the phone.  I stand by her work 100%.  I’m here to help in any way that I can.  REALLY!

This whole experience today makes me confident that my students will ROCK their test in April.  It makes me excited to see what else they can learn in these next few weeks, knowing that they have already overcome a huge part of that battle.  I can’t wait to see them in action again.

Are your students ready?  Are you as pumped as I am?  What do you plan to do during the time you have left?  I’d LOVE to hear your ideas!  I might just need to do the same things!



  1. That’s like I felt when we gave the kids the released Staar as a benchmark. They really surprised me. For the next few weeks I am reviewing with Motivation Writing and writing compositions from start to finish.

    • Kayla Shook says:

      Awesome! I have been using Motivation Writing for homework and STAAR Master for spiral review each day. I plan on doing more writing start to finish…in a shorter amount of time than I have been giving them in the past. I’m also using the Remediation Packet that Gretchen Bernabei posted in her blog for more lessons and sample writing. I’m ready to do a gallery walk with them so they can see what more good writing looks and sounds like. Glad to hear there are others with the same sort of plan! Thanks for stopping by! :)

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