Assessment Day

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Students will be able to analyze poems for figurative language and a short story for characterization and motives by taking a test.

Big Idea

Students take a test to prove they know what they say they know.


10 minutes

Mrs. English teaches an imagination class.  It's not a creative writing test, it's a storytelling class, and all of the stories that students tell are metaphors for how they see themselves.  If you were selected for Mrs. English's class, what story would you tell?  What would the meaning of your story be?  For this journal, you may write using first person pronouns (I, my).

Daily Grams

10 minutes

Due to time constraints, we skipped the Daily Grams on the three previous days.  Students still get the Daily Grams in their bellwork packet, and they still do them, but we don't go over the answers if we're pressed for time.  Today we were not so pressed for time, so we returned to the regularly scheduled routine.


Day 43



  •  The Lott family attended the Olympics held in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • In the phrase, 'the Lott family,' only Lott is capitalized.  The word 'family' is still a comon noun.
  • Olympics, Atlanta, and Georgia are all capitalized because they are proper nouns.



  • How do you abbreviate?  There are standard abbreviations, and those standard abbreviations need to be followed.
  • We covered the abbreviations of mountain, December, street, Tuesday, meter, and west.



  •  Students circled the adjectives in the sentence, "A heron is a long-necked bird with a long tapering bill and soft feathers."
  • Soft modifies feathers.
  • Long and tapering modify bill.
  • Long-necked modifies bird.



  •  There's present tense, future tense, and past tense. 
  • I'll ask is actually I will ask, which is future tense.


Sentence Fluency

  •  There are two simple sentences that can be joined to form a sentence with an independent clause and dependent clause.  
  • Michigan has 124 lighthouses, more than any other state.


Zebra Test

30 minutes

Students took their final "Zebra" test.  I'm not sure what else to say about this.  It was a test and they took it.


My district is big on consistency, and we have three required parts of our gradebook.  Our gradebook is divided into practice, performance, and measurement.  Measurement is 60% of the grade and consists of tests and essays (in English, not necessarily other subject areas).  Performance is 20% and is essays, projects, and other random things we put in this category to meet the requirement.  Practice is also worth 20% and is the daily bellwork, reading logs, and other small assignments.  We also have a weekly intervention 'class', and students who don't show mastery are pulled for reteaching and retesting.


For teachers, the challenge is to make a test that allows students to show their knowledge, but doesn't take forever for the teacher to grade.  There's already a ton of grading in English, and tests need to be rigorous, but also manageable for the teacher.  I'd rather read longer paragraphs as part of writing projects that are graded as a test, like the two paragraph essay on traits and figurative language from yesterday's lesson and as seen in this video.   

There were no multiple choice questions on this test.  That's one of the huge differences I've made in the last couple of years.  It's not enough that students can choose the correct answer from a list of four.  Instead, they need to have acquired and integrated the knowledge into their brains and souls.  Therefore, this test required students to write short answers to show that they really know the content.


Students were able to use their books on the test, but not their notes.  My rationale for using books is that the book contains the story.  They can use the story on their test.  They can use the story because that promotes looking back at the story, which is obviously a skill that we want to develop in our students. 


So, they took the test.  I'll report back on how they did once my student teacher has finished grading the tests.  That's what she's doing this weekend. 


5 minutes

We used the 3-2-1 closure strategy today.  Students wrote down 3 things they knew they knew, 2 questions they still have about "Zebra," figurative language, or character traits, and 1 opinion about how they did on the test. 


Here's the slide I showed the students to help them complete this closure.


Lesson Resources

Today's lesson picture is from Sarah Durham.