Monday, September 1, 2014

FSA Argumentative Essay Prompt Based on Texts--Strategies

Writing Prompt:
(from the Florida Department of Education website)

It’s no secret that sometimes great discoveries come as a result of really big mistakes. But are they always worth the problems they cause? Sometimes the mistakes lead to greatness, and sometimes they lead to disaster. Are mistakes key to making discoveries?

Sunday, August 31, 2014

FSA Informational Essay Prompt Based on Texts--Strategies


The Florida Standards Assessment for Writing (March 2-13, 2015) will have either an informational essay prompt or an argumentative essay prompt. Both prompts require students to cite textual evidence from accompanying reading passages. Below are strategies for students to use for the informational essay prompt. 

I also created a sample informational essay prompt that you may find useful for practice with your students: http://www.synthesizingeducation.net/2014/07/sample-informational-essay-prompt.html. I will soon post strategies for answering the argumentative essay prompt.

Comment on Wording of the Sample FSA Argumentative Prompt (Grades 6-8) on the Florida Department of Education Website


Sample Argumentative Writing Prompt 

It’s no secret that sometimes great discoveries come as a result of really big mistakes. But are they always worth the problems they cause? Sometimes the mistakes lead to greatness, and sometimes they lead to disaster. Are mistakes key to making discoveries?

Florida Standards Assessments (FSA)--Test Design Summary and Blueprint, Grades 9, 10, and 11 (Reading and Writing Exams)

The information below was excerpted from the Florida Department of Education website. First, check out the following links for a calendar of important testing dates:

http://lsms.dadeschools.net/FLORIDA%20STATEWIDE%20ASSESSMENT%20PROGRAM%2020142015%20SCHEDULE-%20LSMS%20(2).pdf

http://professionals.collegeboard.com/testing/ap/about/dates/next-year


Practice for the New Florida Standards Assessments (FSA)--ELA

I plan to teach my students the following mnemonic device as a method of analyzing every text we read. Whether students read on their own, or we read a selection as a class, they will be required to write down the following information for each text. In addition, I will instruct students to find textual support for each element listed below. There is also a list of additional suggested practices and strategies at the end of the post.

My Performance is Determined by Focussing on Very Good Techniques.

M--Main Idea; Mode of Discourse. Students will paraphrase the main idea of the text, then cite the sentence or sentences that support their assertion. In terms of mode of discourse, most texts can be described as one mode: argumentation, for example. However, I will impress upon students that authors often use multiple modes of discourse within one text: description, exposition, process analysis, cause/effect, division and classification, narration, illustration, compare/contrast, etc.

Synopsis of Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) Training Test--Reading, Language, & Listening (Grades 9-11), April 13-May 8, 2015

I reviewed the Training Test on the Florida Department of Education Website and extracted the following information:

Sample Informational Essay Prompt: Practice for New Florida Standards Assessment (FSA)

Suggestions for Teacher:

Students should type their responses as practice for the exam. Although the directions from the sample test at http://www.fsassessments.org/
do not specify parenthetical citations, I would have students cite any information they use in their essays (both paraphrased text and text that students choose to quote). I would advise students to write the title or an abridged version of the title within parentheses. For example, the first text below would be cited as (“Black Death”), the next text could be abbreviated as (“Sin”) and the third text could be abbreviated as (“Depopulation”).

New York Times Opinion on Test-Based Accountability


Check out this opinion piece:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/30/opinion/joe-nocera-imagining-successful-schools.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share

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.

Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) Rubrics--Writing (March 2-13, 2015)

Check out the following links:

http://www.fsassessments.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/ELA-Writing-Rubrics-6-11_Informative.pdf

http://www.fsassessments.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/ELA-Writing-Rubrics-6-11_Argumentation.pdf

Teacher Models as Students Write--AP English Language and Composition Argumentative Prompt Response

A technique that I use in my classes is to project an essay that I have written onto a screen in the front of the room while students write their own essays. I tell students to refer to my essay to get ideas, but not simply to copy what I have written. This practice works well in the beginning of the course, or as I introduce new essay types. Students often do not know where to begin. The essay that I provide is a starting point. As the students become more confident I will no longer project sample essays. If they are having a difficult time, I tell them that they may use my opening paragraph (or an adaptation) to get themselves started. I also remind students that I have been teaching and writing a very long time and that they are not expected to write in a similar fashion, certainly as they begin learning the different essay types.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Modeling Responding to an AP English Language and Composition Argumentative Prompt

Below is an example of a written response to the AP English Language and Composition Argumentative Prompt (2011). I will use this in my classroom to model for students the writing process on the AP Exam. (The response was written in a 40-minute timed session when I attended an AP Summer Institute.) I want to show students that AP Readers understand that their writing is a draft and that they will not be marked down because of cross-outs and penmanship that is difficult to read. The caveat I would tell students is to of course try to write as legibly as possible. If the penmanship is very poor, the AP Reader will struggle and may miss important content in the student response.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Analysis of President Obama's Keynote Address at the Democratic National Convention on July 27, 2004

I began my AP English Language and Composition course this year with an analysis of the speech that propelled a relatively unknown senator from Illinois into the national spotlight. The lesson is relevant and timely because July was the tenth anniversary of that address, and the mood of the country has changed dramatically. Obama’s spirit of optimism, hope, and change touched a chord with the American people in 2004, and helped him win the presidency in 2008. Unfortunately, many of President Obama's aspirations have not come to fruition for various reasons.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Teacher Models as Students Write--AP English Language and Composition Analysis Prompt



A technique that I use in my classes is to project an essay that I have written onto a screen in the front of the room while students write their own essays. I tell students to refer to my essay to get ideas, but not simply to copy what I have written. This practice works well in the beginning of the course, or as I introduce new essay types. Students often do not know where to begin. The essay that I provide is a starting point. As the students become more confident I will no longer project sample essays. If they are having a difficult time, I tell them that they may use my opening paragraph (or an adaptation) to get themselves started. I also remind students that I have been teaching and writing a very long time and that they are not expected to write in a similar fashion, certainly as they begin learning the different essay types.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Resources for Discussion on the Impact of the Digital Age


LearnOutLoud.com is an excellent resource for free digital resources. Check out this link to several video talks on the impact of the Digital Age. Watching and listening to these talks with your students would be good practice for the FSA Listening Component on the Reading Test. Perhaps consider having students just listen by turning off the video part of the recording. Most of the recordings are long. I suggest that teachers parse/chunk the recordings into 5-minute segments, have the students listen, and then have them answer questions. (The listening part of the practice FSA Reading Assessment on the Florida Department of Education website is two minutes in length.):

http://www.learnoutloud.com/content/blog/archives/2014/06/examining_the_digital_age.html

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Text-Dependent Questions/Analysis and Webb's Depth of Knowledge

Check out these links for guides to creating text-dependent questions and Webb's Depth of Knowledge. Once you access the links, look for additional helpful information at the left side of the page: