To begin the hour, students will pull up their Thomas Jefferson Mini-Assessment Practice activities from last class period. Prior to this class period, I went through each student's work to grade their responses and highlight correct answers so that they could work through why the correct answers were, indeed, the best answers. Today I will ask students to share with me their reactions to this assessment practice, including what made it easy or difficult. I have already received a few emails from students suggesting that many of the questions seemed like more than one answer would be correct, so I anticipate that this will be the most common complaint today. I will ask students for an example of a "really tough" question, then we will work through that question as a class to identify the textual support that makes the correct response the best response to the question. I want to emphasize that while many answers may actually be true or correct, only one answer is supported by appropriate textual evidence, making that the best answer. We've really been focusing on the requirement for evidence to support student statements, so making this leap to looking for evidence to support answer choices on assessments should be more natural for them. Making this explicit connection about supporting evidence today should help them see the need to apply the same conscious thought they use in discussion a conscious thought on assessment.
After we conclude our discussion on this assignment, I will inform students that their test will feature a similar, shorter reading sample, so they should email me or stay after class to clear up any remaining issues with this issue. Then, I will ask students for any "last minute" questions that will be answered before their Elements of Argument Quiz.
Following our discussions, I will give students electronic access to their Elements of Argument Quiz through Google Docs. The quiz will include two articles and an infographic as supplemental testing information. Copies of the documents associated with this assessment are in the Resources section. Typically I don't use Google Drive to give tests (since it's very easy to copy and share), I will not be taking this assessment for a grade (though students will not know that until after they work through the assessment). In order to keep students motivated and working hard, I will give students 20 minutes to complete the quiz, suggesting that they should skip questions that really stump them so that if they run out of time they get as many points as possible. I have some students that frazzle easily under pressure, so I will be vigilant about assuring them to just do the best they can do in order to get as much of the assignment done as possible.
After 20 minutes have elapsed, I will allow students to work with their predetermined group of three to continue with the quiz collaboratively for 10 additional minutes. This will give students an opportunity to discuss questions they have with peers and pool their knowledge before our assignment review. During this time, I will continue the belief that this assessment is for a grade to ensure continued effort and participation from students.
Finally, after the final 10 minutes have elapsed, we will review the assignment as a whole group, correcting answers that were wrong so that all students should get full credit and have a wonderful study guide to help them prepare for the test. To keep this portion of the class period moving, I will remind students that our review game is the only thing remaining this period, so a loss of focus now will result in less time playing the review game.
Our final activity of the hour will be to play our review game, in this case, a homemade Jeopardy! game. Students will break into a total of three teams, with each choosing a captain. The captain's role will be to settle any team disputes and ensure that their WHOLE group participates to earn any prizes. After captains are selected, we will choose numbers to determine an order for play, and I will go over my rules:
We will play the review game up to the end of the hour, and I will also post this game online to allow student another interactive way to study before their test. It might seem random that subject/verb agreement shows up in this game (and on the assessment), but this is really a trouble-spot for my students that I have seen over and over in their writing. Since it's also an issue on the ACT and the errors are so widespread, I want to make sure they are keeping in mind and continuing to practice subject/verb agreement leading up to this assessment and on the assessment itself. They are not struggling with simple subject/verb agreement, but when prepositional phrases, compound subjects, and collective nouns are used, they continue to make errors, so that is why these specific issues are addressed in the game and on the assessment. Students that continue to miss these skills will be assigned remediation work to bring them up to the level of their peers following assessment.
In the final minutes of class, I will answer any outstanding student questions about the test and review the study tips I have placed online. Those tips will include:
Next class period, students will take their unit exam and begin learning about the context of our next genres, Realism and Naturalism.