Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Test taking skills or teaching to the test?!?!

OK...this might turn into a rant...and I invite any feedback or opinions to be posted or e-mailed directly to me...

I think that teaching test taking strategies is an important "life skill" that must be addressed in school but I get my tail feathers ruffled when I hear people (the media and others, too) say that schools are teaching to the test. I do not believe that these are one and the same...

Students MUST learn how to take the skills, lessons, and knowledge that they are acquiring and utilize them in new and different ways...we call this application. This must be modeled and taught...and I believe that test taking skills falls in this arena.

For example, students SHOULD be taught that when facing a multiple choice question, one choice will usually be the most often chosen WRONG answer (called a distractor). They also need to learn how to analyze WHAT a question is asking, in order to make sure they answer THE question.

Therefore, with these beliefs in mind and the MSA quickly approaching, I will be teaching test taking skills...please don't mistake this for teaching to the test...that just doesn't fit with my philosophy.

SO, what did we do today....

In math the students worked on a review packet for the unit 3 assessment. We will go over the review packet, in depth, tomorrow in class and take the actual assessment on Friday. They do have a multiplication worksheet for homework.

During reading we read The Three Little Pigs and the The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and discussed point of view. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs is the story told from the wolf's point of view...great book!

Following PE, lunch and outdoor recess we will read a short passage and answer a BCR (brief constructed response). Then we will review our answers to learn how to improve our written response to what we have read...yes, this will help us prepare for MSA but it also will help us learn appropriate ways to demonstrate comprehension of text through written language.

We will end the day in the computer lab, working on our travel brochures!

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