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pinklipstick pinklipstick is offline
 
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pinklipstick
 
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Need Editing/Revising and writing help!
Old 02-11-2016, 09:35 AM
 
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ok, I just need help with all of it. I have a state test coming up at the end of March and I am panicking.!!!
First off, we have been practicing on the editing/revising part of the test. I try to cover the material in several different ways. We play games, work in groups, and independently. I know the kids get bored with it. When we are grading or discussing our work, we talk about EACH answer choice and why it is right and why it is wrong. It is music to my ears! They can spit out the rules and/or reasons on a snap. I often laugh because I can hear myself through them. When working together in groups, I get a high when I walk around and the conversations are so intense about what they are discussing. I love the conversations! BUT....then they take a test independently, and the bomb it! They have told me its because its not fun, or its boring or they are tired (especially my last two classes of the day). I don't know what to do! Sixteen out of 88 students passing is not acceptable! I am soooo scared about how they are going to do on the test!!!
The next issue is that they can tell me all day long about how you should start a sentence with a capital letter, end it with an end mark and how the pronoun "I" should be capitalized. But then 2 minutes later when they start writing.....none of those rules have been applied. What is the problem to this issue? How do you get them to apply what you KNOW THEY KNOW????? It's so frustrating!!!

Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated!!!


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practice overkill
Old 02-11-2016, 09:43 AM
 
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Are you practicing too much? Test practice IS boring. Yes, it is necessary to a certain extent, but I don't blame them for not caring if they are taking a ton of practice tests. I'm not sure how often you are explicitly practicing, but maybe drop it to once a week. Add motivation by saying if you pass this Friday's practice test, next Friday you can skip and free write instead. Then they'd take the following week's one and could skip the next if they passed again. Might give motivation.

When I was teaching, my grade didn't have a writing state test, but we did have math. My big thing was trying to make the kids show their work rather than just guess or do it in their head (and most of the kids could NOT really do it in their head). They were allowed scratch paper and I told them I'd keep note of who was using their scratch paper and those kids would get extra recess afterwards. Since I proctored my own class, I was able to keep an eye on who was using their paper (not necessarily who solved things correctly, but if I saw them writing down something mathy on the paper it counted). This worked for almost every kid.

Is there some test skill you teach them you could easily observe? Like using a highlighter or red pen or using editing marks or something? Not sure what all they can do on a writing test.
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editing/revising
Old 02-12-2016, 01:37 PM
 
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So are they actually writing pieces that they need to apply these important editing/revising skills?

I don't see in your post where they are really writing much.

That's where it matters. Playing games about it may help to learn some of it in an engaging way. working together on writing a report or essay could be fun and motivating. There is nothing like writing experiences where they get to express themselves !

My kids love to write and realize the importance to get a piece ready for others to read and understand.
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Don't Get Discouraged...
Old 02-12-2016, 05:57 PM
 
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It sounds as though you really care about helping your students do their best. Don't get discouraged! It is stressful to think about preparing your kids for a big test. I'm not opposed to test practice in moderation, but probably the best thing you can do is focus on authentic writing tasks and making sure they do well on everyday writing assignments- and they should do well on the test.

As far as the capital letters, end punctuation, etc... Yes, this is a very frustrating aspect of teaching, and I have really struggled with it as well. I have found it helpful to use a highlighter and mark any words that need capitalization and any places requiring punctuation, and I require the students to correct those. I usually hand out those corrections for them to complete before a fun activity. It usually only takes them a few minutes to correct them, but they are more careful in their work, knowing that they will have to correct it again at a more inconvenient time if they aren't careful the first time.
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greenapples greenapples is offline
 
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Editing
Old 02-13-2016, 07:06 AM
 
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Wow- that's tough! I don't know if it will help, but I have them use different colored pencils to edit for particular mistakes. Example: circle all ending punctuation in red, circle all beginning words in green, look between the green and red marks and check for ....
You could also institute some type of 'exit' program of nightly edit practice where they consistently demonstrate what you want to see and they get a pass from the homework. Good luck


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Old 02-14-2016, 07:54 AM
 
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I looked to see if you were in Texas. My understanding is the revising and editing portion will be approximately 70% of the overall score with the actual writing piece (expository essay) only about 30%. Revising and editing practice with passages is definitely boring. I also did a lot of games with task cards on specific skills and small groups for those who struggled. Make sure you do some type of benchmark to see what exactly you need to focus on. You can use some released STAAR tests from the TEA website. I agree that you need to do some type of reward system for those students who are making the effort. I like greenapples suggestion of daily exit tickets to get out of homework if they do well on their practice. I know teachers who do a reward recess for students who do well or make significant improvements on their practice or free computer time on Fridays. For the writing portion, make sure your students have the structure down first and know how to write to the prompt. If you haven't already, get your students familiar with the STAAR writing rubric so they can see what they need to do to make their essays stronger. I always showed students some writing from another class (with the name whited out) and had them revise and edit whole class. It was amazing at how well they could make improvements on other kid's writing. I also like the idea of using colored pencils/pens for revising and editing. If your students are using colored pencils and pens to revise and edit their rough drafts, they can use it during the STAAR test. Good luck!
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