Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Career Research Essay

Career Research Essay—at least 4 pages, typed, double-spaced, 12 point Times Roman font, one-inch margins. Must include an additional Works Cited page.

You will soon be entering another phase of your life, becoming more independent and responsible.  “Real Life” involves important decisions, and one of the most pivotal decisions is the career path you choose.  I want you to reflect on a possible career, investigate and research the issues pertaining to that job, then write an essay in which you put together everything you have learned in an organized fashion.  You must cite any information you provide throughout your paper (parenthetical citations).

Below is a list of points you need to cover in your essay.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Essay Checklist for Discussion of Literature

Below is an an example of a student checklist for writing drafts of essays.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Scholars: Copy and paste the post below into a Word document and place it in your binder. You may handwrite the post if your prefer.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Technology at the Tipping Point: The Negative Effects of Our Relationship With Glass Screens

I have been a teacher for twenty-six years.  During that time period, I have been impressed by the kindness, character, and compassion of so many students.  Obviously, we cannot generalize about the behaviors and actions of young people in our society by the heinous actions of a few.  We do, however, need to examine the cause for increasingly sociopathic and character-disturbed behavior among some young individuals.  I would like to suggest that there are multiple reasons, and not one factor alone, that may be causes of an increase in violent, callous behavior.
One phenomenon that may contribute to a rise in sociopathy in our society (not just among the young) is an increasingly technological society that encourages relationships with certain things--Iphones, Ipods, Ipads, video games, computers, etc., over relationships with people.  Most months we hear stories of individuals perpetrating mass murders.  In October of 2013, there was a shooting on a train in San Francisco, where commuters, enthralled by their electronic devices, were oblivious to the murderer who was waving his gun before he shot a college student.  This incident is a sad and tragic metaphor for our new technological world.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

How to Make Better Use of Multiple-Choice Assessments

Research indicates that frequent low-stakes testing in the classroom results in better results on high-stakes tests, such as state-mandated Common Core Tests, the SAT, and the ACT. This fact may seem paradoxical, as many teachers think that we test too much, but assessing with low-stakes tests in the classroom is much different from the high-stakes tests mentioned above.

I do not think that administering a multiple-choice test in the classroom, where students simply fill in bubbles is effective. In fact, I think that administering multiple-choice tests is an easy way out for educators. We give the student a test, they fill in bubbles, and we, as educators, have something very easy to grade (certainly much easier than grading a pile of essays, which we don't assign enough of, but that's another story, and another post).

Monday, November 2, 2015

Walden Activity

Turn to page 381 in the textbook (The Language of Literature, American Literature, McDougal Littell). Read the background material to Walden. Consider the literary terms in the list below (look the terms up first and write the definitions). Then, as you are reading the excerpts from Walden, cite examples of these literary devices and comment on the effectiveness of Thoreau's use of these techniques. How is your reading of the text enhanced by his artful use of these literary devices? Explain as best you can. Write down any questions that you have or parts of the text that you find confusing. We will discuss later as a class.

Write notes in your binder. They may be checked at any time for a grade.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Pointers for New SAT (2016) Reading Test

The SAT Reading Test 2016

(Information in this document was excerpted and adapted from The Official SAT Study Guide of the College Board, 2015.)

Consider purchasing The Official SAT Study Guide for March 2016 and beyond. The book is an excellent resource. It is available through the College Board Store or Amazon.com.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

ELA Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) Terminology

I scanned tests and Common Core Standards for many of the terms on the following list. I also included terms which I consider "Pre-AP" in order to increase rigor in English classes.

Ways to Prepare Students for New Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) and Other Rigorous Exams

  • Teaching to the test. Yes, teaching to the test. I know that this may seem like anathema to many educators, but from a pragmatic point of view it works. For example, in the the new Common Core Florida Standards Assessment that we will be preparing students for (whatever its format), we do know that high-level critical thinking skills will be emphasized. We need to give students concrete, specific explanations of what these skills mean (in language and through analogies that they can understand), as well as explicit step-by-step directives on how to understand/use each skill in both reading and writing. Students will never understand the skills of evaluation, analysis, synthesis, and argumentation unless we teach in ways that are specific, concrete, and directed.

Sample Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) Informative/Explanatory Writing Prompt: Memory

Below is a sample FSA Informational Writing Prompt. See the attached links for the texts to accompany the prompt. As far as I know, the FSA Writing Component for ELA will have anywhere between two and four passages, with a maximum of 2000 words total.

The first text you could excerpt from is "Rituals of Memory," in the Collections textbook for Grade 9.

Sample Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) Informative/Explanatory Writing Prompt: Animal Emotions

Below is a sample FSA Informational Writing Prompt. See the attached links for the texts to accompany the prompt. As far as I know, the FSA Writing Component for ELA will have anywhere between two and four passages, with a maximum of 2000 words total.

The first text you could excerpt from is "Monkey See, Monkey Do, Monkey Connect," in the Collections textbook for Grade 9.

Sample Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) Argumentative Writing Prompt: Student Data

I created the following sample FSA Argumentative prompt for ELA based on five New York Times articles written especially for students. The Learning Network section of The New York Times has great resources to create FSA-style writing prompts. See the following link for access to the articles for the prompt below:

Sample Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) Argumentative Writing Prompt: Space Exploration

Use the following links for access to articles that could accompany the argumentative writing prompt on space exploration below. You will need to use your judgement in excerpting the passages to reflect the guidelines for texts that will appear with the FSA Writing Prompts. I believe that there will be anywhere between two and four texts, with a total word count (all texts combined) of no more than 2000 words. See the sample prompts on the DOE website (Training Tests) for ideas about length and formatting: http://www.fsassessments.org/training-tests

Sample Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) Argumentative Prompt: Vaccines for Children

Some have claimed that vaccinations for children are not necessary or even harmful. Other individuals see government vaccinations as an invasion of a parent's right to make choices for his/her own children.  And still others feel that vaccinations are necessary and good for public health reasons. Read the accompanying texts and decide for yourself whether you think that vaccinations for children are necessary and should be required.

FSA Informative Essay Writing Prompt--Thinking Process for Responding

Thinking, Nicholas Roerich (1918)
I give the following handout to students on how to closely read the texts for the FSA Informative/Explanatory Writing Prompt.

Lesson Plan: Teaching the Informative/Explanatory Essay for the Florida Standards Assessments (FSA)--Clothing Style and Development

I used the following procedure in my classes to teach students how to write the informative/explanatory essay. Maybe you will find some of the information below helpful?

Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) DOE Prompt--Informative/Explanatory, Modeling for Students How to Read and Respond

The writing component of the new FSA will be more challenging for students because they have to provide textual evidence from the accompanying articles as support in their essays. 

FSA ELA Argumentative Prompt--Pointers on How to Respond

I provide students with the following suggestions:

The following opinions are mine, not necessarily those of the DOE. Unfortunately, there has not been the best communication about this new assessment and there is a lack of clarity on some issues. My recommendations are as follows:

Format of Item Types on Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) for ELA Reading Component

(Information from Florida DOE website)

Hot Text items require the student to either click on a response option or drag a response option to another location. In the drag-a-response option, the student may be given five possible responses, for example. The student then must click on and drag one or more responses to an space in a chart, list, or graphic organizer. Hot Text items may also require students to select/highlight details from a text (words, phrases, or sentences). Some Hot Text items are two part. For example, Part A asks the student, "Which is a theme of the passage?" and Part B asks the student, "Which detail supports the development of the theme in Part A?"