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scarlett 07-10-2012 07:13 PM

Please help a scared 3rd grade teacher.
I LOVE the idea of Readers' Workshop but teaching in Florida, I am responsible to make sure my third graders pass the FCAT in April which includes teaching not only strategies, but skills - inference, main idea, fact and opinion, author's purpose, etc., etc., I need some reassurance from someone who has done this that their students were ready for THE TEST.<!--misspeak--> Also any info. on how you devised your schedule would be great. I have a 90 minute reading block which also needs to incorporate spelling and vocabulary. Thanks in advance

Room4Rocks 07-16-2012 10:42 AM

Don't worry! :)
Get a copy of the released FCAT test questions so you are familiar with the format and question types. I just make my own questions that look similar so the kids are familiar. Do a few after you've taught that strategy, so they understand what the question is really asking them.

I teach in CA, so I'm not familiar with the FCAT. But I just look at all subjects through my testing "glasses". On the back of my weekly traditional spelling tests, I have 8 testing type spelling questions. So, if we were reviewing long a patterns for the week, I looked how phonics/spelling was tested on our released questions and made some similar, but using the skill of the week.

1. Which two words rhyme?
a) pan, pane
b) pain, pane
c) trade, train
d) raw, ray

I view Social Studies and Science as non-fiction reading (and writing) time. One testing type question per day. I don't want the entire time to be test prep, but over the course of the school year, one extra question during SS and Sci will add up to a lot and not overwhelm, drill and kill the kids.

My reading block is a Reader's Workshop approach. I use Daily 5 and CAFE. (Although in a few weeks, I'm going to a Lucy Calkins' style conference...)

My grade level is required to level the entire grade level and divide them into three groups for reading. I have the high group, there's a middle, and the low. The low group has 2 extra trained paraprofessionals, so they have a 10:1 student teacher ratio. But, all of us teach the same lessons and skills, just at different levels. The students all read from book bags with books at their level. Spelling/phonics is also incorporated into these groups. So, we may all be teaching long a patterns, but the low group's words will be basic and my group's long a words will have prefixes and suffixes.

So, here is our current 95 minute reading block:

1. Reading strategy mini lesson
2. Independent reading
3. Phonics/Spelling mini lesson
4. Independent practice
5. Grammar mini lesson
6. Independent practice

Try this link. There's a section on test preparation:

I'm going to blog about what I learn at the upcoming 4-day reading conference I'm going to if you want to check it out. google Third Grade is the Place for Me blogspot and you should find it.

Don't worry! It will be fine! Good teaching is what the kids need the most! Trust in that!!

scarlett 07-16-2012 03:54 PM

Room4 Rocks, thank you, thank you, thank you!
I had given up hope of getting a response and you have given me so much help plus resources (like your blog) to go to. I am so appreciative to know it can be done.

scarlett 07-16-2012 04:20 PM

Room4 Rocks, thank you, thank you, thank you!
I had given up hope of getting a response and you have given me so much help plus resources (like your blog) to go to. I am so appreciative to know it can be done.

Room4Rocks 07-16-2012 09:46 PM

I'm glad I could help!
We've all been nervous at one point or another. That's what makes proteacher and blogging so great. People are so eager to help (if they can). Both have helped me so much!

I was nervous moving to third grade, too. I taught first for years and there's no testing in first. But, it all works out.

One more tip someone gave me: when they are actually taking the test, jot down important notes/observations on your students. Like, so-and-so finished really early. So-and-so had a runny nose. Because if their test scores come back low, there might be a reason....they rushed....they seemed sick.

scarlett 07-17-2012 02:12 PM

Good advice.
I'll do that this year!

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