As we are getting closer and closer to State Testing, my teammates and I were noticing that our students seemed to understand all of the concepts. They were consistently able to transfer their knowledge to various assignments and performance tasks. When it came to tests, specifically, though, we were finding they were not reading the instructions and therefore losing credit for understanding the concepts.
For example, in Social Studies, students were able to list three geographical factors of an early civilization, but when it was an Open Response Question (ORQ), students were only writing exclusively about one feature. Does this sound familiar?
Being the Language Arts teacher on the team, I felt compelled to give the kids specific support in these areas.
First, I thought it was important for our students to sequence. Oftentimes, it's the sequencing of directions that confuses them--especially in multi-step assessments.
I found this Following Instructions worksheet on the GreatSchools site. It felt important they were following instructions in one of the content areas, so that they saw a transfer from what we are learning in LA to, say, Science.
First, students were asked to read the passage. Then, they were asked to reread it, this time underlining the actual instructions.
The worksheet then asked them to pull out of the passage material they would need for the experiment. Lastly, students identified all of the steps and arranged them in sequential order.
For the second half of the lesson, I had students choose one, single thing they did every day (brushing teeth, making their lunch, getting to school) and I had them sequence it in the Sequence Chart. As they were doing this, I came around and had them act it out--where it was easy to identify steps they may have left out.