Reflection: Standards Alignment Transitions: Language Study - Section 2: Language Lessons from AP Multiple Choice Exam


We ended up spending the majority of the class on these questions, with the biggest emphasis on test-taking and grammar.   One question was, “Which of the following is used it the sentence that begins “The regulation poster in the single unisex rest room” (toward the end of para. 1)?  A) compound subject  b) compound adjective  c)  dangling modifier  d) complex metaphor  e)nonrestrictive phrase.” When I started asking what the constructions are that they were to choose from, or even what a phrase is, the students looked at me as though I was speaking another language.  Apparently the first week of instruction has worn off!  So, I decided to put the passages under a microscope.  With the grammar question above,  I explained that I am not interested in having students memorize the names of every type of grammatical construction, but if they know the basic parts of speech and constructions (subject, adjective, modifier, phrase, metaphor), they should be able to figure out what these more specific constructions are.   From there we looked at the whole sentence in question, which was a complex sentence with four clauses, providing an opportunity to review phrases and clauses (I think learning how to recognize a clause is one of the more important things grammatically they can learn, particularly for interpreting complex texts).

This practice test really showed that I need to continue to emphasize the function of language at a grammatical level so that they are able to access that knowledge readily; these practice multiple choice questions offer a nice way to do this, since I can get immediate feedback about what they need instruction on, and can then look right at the text they are working with to take advantage of the teaching moment.

Also, I spent time emphasizing the importance of reading questions closely; the first question asked “The second-person point of view Ehrenreich uses in the first paragraph serves to:”.  Almost all the students kind of ignored the second-person part of the question, and answered the broader question of how the first paragraph functions.  So, we spent some time reading the questions more carefully and establishing what they are actually asking.  Clearly we will need to do more practice on this (they will be even more motivated after next week when they all take their PSATs!).

  Lots of Grammar Review
  Standards Alignment: Lots of Grammar Review
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Transitions: Language Study

Unit 4: Thematic Unit: Education
Lesson 18 of 18

Objective: SWBAT identify clauses in a sentence by locating verbs and subjects, and use close reading strategies to assist in answering standardized multiple choice questions.

Big Idea: With multiple choice questions, clues to the best answer are hidden in the words of the questions and the answer choices.

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