Throughout the year, I've been getting more and more information about how my students will test with the Smarter Balanced assessment next year. We've begun digging into the test question stems, performance tasks and rubrics to think about how to make changes for next year. My lessons have started to make that transition, but they will, by no means, be geared toward the test. I try to work in lessons like this one to give my kids some exposure to the types of questions asked as some of them are completely new formats and wording. I consider standardized test taking a game for my kiddos. I love teaching them the skills necessary to play, but if I don't teach them the rules(i.e. test formats, stems, etc.) they'll be nervous and won't perform as well.
With all that said, today I want to bring the RL5.3 back with an emphasis on fiction elements in drama. The nice thing about these standards is that they allow you to spiral the skills throughout the year simply by introducing different genres of fiction; primarily, fiction, poetry and drama. Of course the kiddos can run into some nonfiction pieces in poetry and drama, but there are still dramatic elements in those plays. Today, I'm going to use a play my kiddos have already read in the last lesson, Savitri. I'll just use this in my modeling portion of the lesson. Then my kids will get to read and think about the story using some of the questions I've created in Smarter Balanced fashion.
After reviewing the reading, we'll work through answering the first two questions about the play together. I want to model my thought process as I answer these. Since this is the third time we've worked with this standard, I don't plan to do much modeling here. I want to get them into their small groups quickly so I can jump in with groups and help where I'm needed.
At this point, the kids will break into groups and use the text to answer the remaining questions. I'll be meeting with a small group of 5 that still struggle a bit in my class. This is probably one of the hardest standards, and I know this group of kiddos will have difficulty finding the information to answer some of these. I'll be pushing them to find the text details to use in order to answer the questions, but I plan to be there to help them word their answers. This group tends to lose focus quickly, so just being there to keep them on task is always helpful.