Preparing for the Unit 5 Assessment by Determining the Meaning of Words and Citing Evidence From the Text

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Objective

SWBAT determine figurative and connotative meaning of words and analyze their impact on literary works. SWBAT cite specific evidence from text and demonstrate understanding by writing evidence based answers.

Big Idea

Practicing test taking helps prepare my students for the real thing.

Activator

10 minutes

I have two class objectives today.  The first is to complete the second practice test for the Unit 5 District Assessment (which they will take during the following two days). The second objective is to practice sitting for 45 minutes in a "testing environment."   This is important because the majority of my repeating students lack reading stamina and have little success with test taking.  I think having them practice taking tests prior to the unit exam will put their minds into a test mode and help them to relax when they take the real exam.  It also gives them a clear message of my expectations regarding adhering to a testing environment.

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For today's activator I review what a testing environment will entail and why it's important for them to understand:

  • I explain that we will arrange our classroom desks specifically for the test versus for group work and that's why I put the desks in rows. 
  • I explain contrary to most days, today I will assign specific seats based on their personalities and friendships (or lack of).   I explain this seating arrangement will continue for the next day's (actual) test as well. 
  • Next, I acknowledge that talking and other distractions during a test is one of their biggest challenges and for this reason we are practicing "sustained test taking."  I tell my students that unless I ask a question to check for understanding, talking could be perceived as cheating or intentionally causing others to fail, and therefore, I will deduct points on their test for talking.

I finally explain that ensuring that all students have a quiet work environment in which to complete their test is my priority because I want them all to succeed. 

Building Knowledge

15 minutes

Understanding the academic vocabulary used in the exam will give students a better opportunity to answer the questions being ask.  Using the Preparation for Unit 5 Test power point presentation,  I will review academic vocabulary and figurative language that will be on the Unit 5 Assessment to prepare them for the figurative language being asked on the exam.  On slide #2 students will match the example to the word.  To increase engagement I use student's names in the examples, i.e. Jaiden is a diamond.

On slide #3 students are asked to match a vocabulary word to its correct definition, L.9-10.3.  I facilitate this discussion by using the "Call Out" method which is basically letting the first person who thinks they know the answer to call it out and then I ask if anyone disagrees and if so what is their answer.  Next I point out the definition that correctly matches up with the vocabulary word.  

We repeat this process for slide #4.  These vocabulary words will be found in several of the dialogues that will be in the Unit 5 Assessment.  I want them to become familiar with these words prior to the test so they will not gloss over the words or become frustrated and stop thinking of the correct answer.

Student Learning Activity

50 minutes

This is the second lesson in which my students were asked to take a practice test in preparation for the Unit 5 assessment.  Test taking is not one of my students strengths and the more practice I can give them the better prepared they'll be for this important benchmark District Unit Exam.  

There will be an open response question on the exam and my students have been using the P.E.E. organizer which helps them to organize their thoughts and answers before writing the final draft (W.9-10.5). I hand out the second adapted Unit 5 practice test and explain that for the open response question a completion of the P.E.E. graphic organizer demonstrating their organizing of complex ideas, W.9-10.2a, would be sufficient because of the limited amount of time they'll have for today's practice test.  I then explain that they will have two class periods for the actual assessment and then I will expect both a completed graphic organizer and final draft for their open response.

As students take the practice test I circulate among them to maintain a testing environment, and to occasionally ask clarifying questions.

Wrap Up

5 minutes

Exit Ticket: One Sentence Response

Before the class is over I leave 5 minutes for students to share how the use of the graphic organizer helped them answer the prompt.  We've discussed this topic several times before during the year but I find that to change negative attitude and behavior cycles towards writing, it may take many explanations and discussions of the desired attitude or behavior toward learning.  I facilitate the conversation by randomly pointing to a name on my class list and asking the student to first think of their answer and then quickly give me a one sentence response.