The Week Before THE Test

It’s the week before the test.  Your mind is going crazy.  Did I teach them everything I was supposed to teach them?  Did they actually LEARN what I taught?  Did they tune me out?  What can I do this last week to help them be successful on those dreaded testing days?

Yeah.  Most of us are thinking the same thing.  And most likely, you’ve done an extraordinary job doing what you do best…TEACHING!  😉

Relax.  Take deep breaths.  It will be ok.

In case you are still wondering what in the world to do this week…enjoying your last day of Spring Break…procrastinating with those lesson plans…OR you just want to see what others are doing…I’m posting my lesson plans for this week.

The things we will focus on are hit pretty hard throughout the entire test.  If you are from Texas, you probably already know the blueprint: 9 revising and 19 editing.  So will we spend lots of time on revising?  Absolutely not.  We’ve talked about and practiced all of those dreadful fun things like inserting and deleting sentences within a paragraph, transition words, and introductory and concluding sentences.  In my opinion, many kids just aren’t ready for that kind of work.  Some of them “get it,” and others just don’t.

That being said, we will focus on lots of editing things with a hint of some revising (AKA: combining sentences).  You can click here to download (and print, if your heart so desires) our plans for the coming week.

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Tip: If you attach a color to the writer’s tools that you have taught your kids, it can be a HUGE stress reliever on test day!  Just hang up pieces of construction paper that are the same color as what you use for the tools.  That way, when kids see it, they are reminded of all the writer’s tools they have used throughout the year.  If you haven’t done this yet, IT’S NOT TOO LATE!!  DO IT NOW!!!

I’ve done this for the past several years, and every year, when the test is over, my kids tell me how much more comfortable they felt as they were writing their papers.  They can just look up at the wall and remember all the things they were taught throughout the year.  Genius.  Priceless.  :)

Also, I’ve created PDF files of our writing prompts we will be doing this week.  If you are interested, you can click here and here to get all 4 days of writing prompts that look VERY similar to what they will see on test day. (Don’t ask me why I didn’t do them in order.  I don’t have a good answer…)

At the bottom, I’ve referenced task cards that I have created.  Many of you already have several of them…I know!  I’ve made a few more this year, so if you haven’t stopped by my TpT store lately, you might want to head over and take a peek.  You can click the link on the side of my blog, or click here.

Here is a link to a post about the Friday writing activity.  I blogged about it last year after the test was over.  We’ve been drawing faces of STAAR graders for years now, and it’s always a hit!!  This will give you an idea of what we do.  I also posted several pictures of my kids huddled around discussing the task cards.  Pure awesomeness!  😉

Best wishes to all of you!  I’ll be thinking about y’all this week and next!

As always, if you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to post them in the comments.  We ALL benefit from your ideas!  Maybe I’m missing something..?  :)

See you on the other side!




Narrative and Expository Writing Rubrics

WHEW!  I FINALLY finished my own rubrics for expository and narrative writing.  These are based on the STAAR Writing rubrics from TEA.  I was tired of thumbing through 4 pages of text and trying to determine those little differences between the scores, so I took the important parts and put them into a rubric that is one page and easier to follow.  I also created a rubric that is kid-friendly so that my students can see what they do well and where they still need improvement.  AND…I created a rubric with simply numbers for scoring at a glance.  All-in-all…5 pages of awesomeness that I can use from now on…or until TEA decides to change it up again!

You can check out a preview of the products below.

Expositroy Rubric Pic

Scoring Rubric Pic

I’m uploading these to my TpT store.  Especially if you are a 4th grade writing teacher in Texas, these are for you!!   I’ve had several teachers and bloggers ask about how I grade my students.  This is it!  😉  Click here to get your set!

And the best part….Teachers Pay Teachers is having a sitewide sale in celebration of reaching 3 million teachers!  The sale is Thursday and Friday, Feb 26 – 27.  In addition, my products are an additional 20% off!  So now is your chance to get some awesome products for a GREAT price! Be sure to enter the code TPT3 during checkout!

Be sure to leave feedback on all of your purchases.  Not only does it give the seller feedback, but you also accrue points toward future purchases.  Happy shopping!!  :)