Final Exam Review: Open Forum and Independent Study

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SWBAT demonstrate independence and proficiency in comprehending stories, drama, poems, and non-fiction in order to prepare for the semester final exam through class review discussion and pre-writing.

Big Idea

How do I study for this? (We've all been asked it. Here a few answers.)

Introduction & Welcome: It's Dress Up Your Pet Day!

3 minutes

It's "Dress Up Your Pet Day," so, I welcome the students to class with a quick poll, "How many of you do dress up your pets?" I also ask if any students wish to share their pet-dress-up experiences. 

As always, Daily Holidays serve to build a sense of community and trust within the classroom, encouraging students to share their thoughts and participate in a wide range of discussions, build on others' ideas, express their own ideas clearly (SL.9-10.1).

Final Exam Prep: Topic Review

20 minutes

For the third day, and in order to give students a full period to review, the class will have an opportunity to review for the final exam, either independently, with peers, or by asking me questions they may have. 

Before I allow students to work without my direct guidance, though, I inform them of the general topics on the final exam essays, to provide students an opportunity to gather evidence for their written responses, at the appropriate level of skill (W.9-10.10). I also advise them to make an outline in order to prepare their support. The topics the students are provided are:

  • Identity: How do the characters, poetic speakers, and authors we have read establish who they are, as people? 
  • In "The Catcher in the Rye," what is the significance of the fish and the ducks? Is Holden a fish, a duck, or a mixture of both? (If he's a mix, please use "dish," not the reverse portmanteau.)

Students are given the general topics ahead of time to select the evidence which they find to be strongest to support their points, rather than being put "on the spot" during the exam and "blanking." The assessment focuses more on the students' ability to information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content (W.9-10.2), not so much the content itself. 

Final Exam Prep: Independent Review

25 minutes

I ask if students have any questions for the final. I answer any questions that may have arisen during their independent review time, and encourage students to take notes on the final exam review (Fall Final Review Document) itself and provide in-class time for students to review individually or collaboratively. I again (third time) remind students that, since the final exam is primarily skills-based, the best way to study is:

A. Know the definition of each term.

B. Know an example of the term from the reading.

C. Be able to explain how or why the term is utilized in the literature.

The semester final exam assesses students ability to read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems (RL.9-10.10), as well as literary nonfiction (RI.9-10.10) in the grades 9-10 text complexity band proficiently. The questions on the final exam are drawn from all material we have studied this semester, with a focus on questions that require students to be able to use the skills we have practiced this semester, rather than require recall of minutiae from the readings. Students are presented with multiple choice and short answer/free response questions  at the appropriate level of skill (W.9-10.10) that evaluate their understanding of these skills. The Core Standards focus on practical, skill-based learning, so our summative evaluation follows a benchmark or standardized test format, with passages from the works we have studied or from the same authors, and questions that evaluate their ability to recall, use, and evaluate the skills we study in context. Students are presented with those skills on the above-attached review. As many of the questions are drawn from and adapted from our textbook, they are not reproduced here.

Working individually or collaboratively, students chose the means of study most effective for themselves. Students are given the opportunity to review, giving them the opportunity to focus on that which they find most challenging or on which they feel most comfortable. During this time, they can take note of those ideas they cannot remember, struggle with, or feel confident, bringing these to our next class discussion, and immediately ask me as I circulate the classroom. 

Two-Minute Warning: Wrap-Up and Good Luck!

2 minutes

With two minutes remaining in the class, I direct students to return to their seats and ask for any final questions for the final exams. As class wraps up, I wish the students luck on the finals.