Reflection: Standards Alignment Gettin' Frank with Franklin's Autobiography - Section 5: Closing


For many years, review guides have been a list of information which students need to memorize (or complete the memorization of) to reproduce on a test.  The Common Core, however, is much more skills-based, meaning students need to be familiar in applying the breadth of their content knowledge.  When grappling with this difference (and still meeting our district-requirement of giving "study guides"), I thought for a long time about how to best ensure students would have the content knowledge and application skills for a Common Core aligned test.  The result was this study guide, which is still definitely a work in progress.  As I introduced this study guide, I emphasized that students may use notes to simply copy and paste the definitions in the blue chart (since we've gone over it all, but just compiling the information would be helpful), but the most important feature of this grid is the "Examples" column.  This column will vary from student to student (some will create examples of their own, some will pull examples from text, etc.), but they skill of demonstrating that they know about what that skill looks like in practice is critical to doing well on the test.  Unlike many other tests, this test is less about the texts themselves and more about applying the skills that we have been practicing in this unit, like reading strategies and identifying rhetorical devices.  

The second section of the study guide was created to ensure that students have refreshed their memories on each work, but moreso to help students have a quick mental access to authors and works with similar themes, audiences, and purposes.  The Common Core requires students to reference other literary works (at an astounding level, really!), so I want to make sure they are "filing" these bits of information in a way that is easily recalled within their mental filing cabinets.  

Finally, the last two sections of the study guide ask students to do a bit of pre-writing to determine evidence to make their points in short essays on the test and to make sure that they can perform each of the listed skills.  It wasn't feasible to give students a bunch more practice on these skills, so students are put more in control of their learning by having to seek more help or practice with skills that they struggle with.  

Students did well with this concept, overall, though there was some trepidation about what exactly the test would look like.  Students like to be spoon-fed, and these activities can sometimes induce anxieties in students who are used to the lower-level thinking skills simple memorization tasks have offered them in the past.  That discomfort is completely okay though!  They will move on and be tougher, more capable students because of it!

  Designing a Skills-Based Review Guide
  Standards Alignment: Designing a Skills-Based Review Guide
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Gettin' Frank with Franklin's Autobiography

Unit 2: A Revolutionary Introduction to Argumentation & Rhetoric
Lesson 6 of 8

Objective: SWBAT compare and contrast Ben Franklin's idea of moral perfection with Puritan values by evaluating textual evidence contained in an excerpt of his autobiography.

Big Idea: With 14 hours of self-improvement slated each day, I'd probably be as productive and amazing as Ben Franklin too...

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a day in the life of ben franklin
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