Reflection: Checks for Understanding Writing an Outline for an Informative Paragraph - Section 2: Explicit Modeling of an Outline


In the lesson, I talked about how students know the definitions of the parts of the paragraph, but how they fit together is sometimes unclear. I know this, not by asking students the question on a quiz or test, but by analyzing the writing they're doing on a weekly basis--the reading log homework. 

The reading log homework for all classes is basically the same thing--read a passage, answer the questions, and write a paragraph.  It's differentiated by their reading level, however.  If a student is reading at a second grade level, I'm not giving that student seventh grade reading homework.  I'm giving that student reading at the second grade level to develop fluency which will aid comprehension. It also cuts down on the amount of cheating and copying that is possible because the students have different passages.  That's a minor concern, but hey, it is a concern.

As I read the hundreds of paragraphs that students turn in each week, I can analyze the mistakes they're making.  If students aren't capitalizing the beginning of the sentence, I can focus on that in the daily bellwork.  If students are making subject/verb agreement errors, I can target that.  I can also target specific skills in content in mini-lessons, which is what I've done today.  It's simply using the writing that students are producing to inform me of where they are and where they need to get.  It's formative assessment.

Sometimes formative assessment is a scary thing.  Sometimes it's seen as a four letter word, depending on how one's district has mandated formative assessment be done.  However, it can also be simple.  Stupid simple, you might say.  You're probably already doing it.  The reading homework that I give students each week is working well for me to track both reading and writing.  I wonder if it's possible to fit in speaking and listening to this one assignment and kill four birds with one stone. That might be crazy talk, though.

  Using Reading Log Homework as Formative Assessment
  Checks for Understanding: Using Reading Log Homework as Formative Assessment
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Writing an Outline for an Informative Paragraph

Unit 9: What Happened to Emmett Till?: Analyzing Multiple Sources to Discover History
Lesson 8 of 10

Objective: Students will be able to write an informative account of what happened to Emmett Till by drafting a rough draft outline.

Big Idea: Writing outlines before writing rough drafts helps students focus on ideas and organization.

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