REFLECTING ON CLASSROOM PRACTICE
Looking at several of my previous lessons you will find reading assessments that require my students to write an open response or constructed explanatory/informational response to a given prompt within each unit of study. Our state's graduation test ( MCAS), includes four open response questions and if students do not practice the correct way to write one they have little chance of obtaining the maximum number of points (4) for each response.
As part of your reflection on your classroom practices I suggest that you:
1. Actively consider your state‘s standards and curriculum frameworks as you plan lessons
2. Plan instruction based on formative and summative data
When assessing and teaching Open Response I suggest that you:
3. Teach students how to assess and revise their writing
4. Practice by creating a test-like environment in the class
I will take a short break from our Romeo and Juliet unit by addressing these skills for preparation for our Unit 5 District Assessment.
I begin the lesson by giving students a Check List that they fill out. This formative assessment will help me determine their understanding of writing an open response and what I may need to review before handing them the pre-unit assessment. After students complete answering the questions they share papers with a partner as I circulate around the room checking for accuracy. I then facilitate a quick class review of the answers.
I think rubrics are good for students for several reasons. First and probably most importantly they let students know what is expected of them, and demystify grades by clearly stating, in age-appropriate vocabulary, the expectations for the task/project. Rubrics remove the emotional content with grading that get in the way of good learning such as when a student thinks, "The teacher is going to give me a poor grade because she doesn't like me." Rubrics are objective.
They also help students see that learning is about gaining specific skills (both academic, in problem-solving, and cooperative learning activities), and they give students the opportunity to do self-assessment to reflect on the learning process.
In this mini-lesson I review the Scoring Rubric anf the prompt for the Open Response that they will be answering by projecting it onto a screen using my docucamera and checking for understanding especially for academic vocabulary such as: relevant, describe, specific, etc. L.9-10.6.
Next I project the Open Repsonse sequence on a screen and discuss each step of the process.
I next read the prompt out loud and ask a student to summarize what the prompt is asking them to answer as well as telling students to underline the verbs. I then ask for clarification on "tone" and "conflict." When I am satisfied that students understand the prompt's directive, I then ask them to read the text to themselves. After they read the text I instruct them to annotate for tone and conflict RL.9-10.4. I use an excerpt from the dramatic play, A Raisin in the Sun, that we had recently read.
I circulate among students checking for understanding by asking clarifying questions while they write their drafts.
When there are about 5 minutes left before the class ends I ask students to put their work in their folders.
Then, we have our wrap up. This wrap up activity is called the "question technique." I ask every student to think of one question about the content (answering an open response) which they will then they ask their learning partner. The partner answers the question as required in standard SL.9-10.1 as I circulate among them listening to the questions and answers.
My students will write their final drafts of their open response tomorrow, so this question technique will help them to get their questions answered before they begin to write tomorrow.