Writing and the CAASPP

writing.jpegThis week my students have been taking the CAASPP Test (SBAC). As you may, or may not, know, there is quite a bit of writing on it. This week we focused on the ELA portion. As a teacher, these tests kill me. I know what my students are capable of and know that they are making simple mistakes that they don’t normally make. That being said, I had several students transferring what they have learned about writing various sentences to this test, and more importantly, to everyday life.

Over the past several months we have been working on writing our own movie script using A Tale Unfolds, which comes out of the UK. I have written about it here and here. One of the strengths of the program is its writing aspect. The kids are constantly writing! Each week they are introduced to another type of sentence. One week it was appositives, another it was complex, and yet another had ‘if, if, if, then’ sentences. The program uses Alan Peat‘s modeling.

These are some of the things the students shared with me, with great pride:

  • Ms. N., I used an ‘if, if, if, then’ sentence.
  • Ms. N., I used a 3 -ed sentence.
  • I used an appositive. (She then showed me. It was beautiful! I got a little teary-eyed. Yeah, it was that awesome.)

I really don’t think my students would have produced the type of writing they did this week without the constant writing they have been doing for their script. The way the different sentences are introduced and the experience the students have with ‘playing’ with the new sentences has been a benefit to my students.

On a side note, I showed the first portion (without beginning credits/title/etc) of their movie to them. They are so excited! They are dying to see more. I even began showing other teachers small snippets. They were impressed. It’s been a fun experience!

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