Sunday, May 4, 2014

Writing Prompt Resources: State Test Prep

      Hello darlings!  Our state testing starts Tuesday. (MAP Test for our Missouri friends)  One of the requirements for our third graders is to respond to a prompt.  They have to brainstorm, complete a rough draft, edit and revise, and then write the final draft all in one sitting.  Yikes!  My poor babies!  But they can do it!  

      Before I taught them anything about prompts, I gave them a pretest.  They received the rainy day prompt below and had 45 mins to complete it.  I told them we would be using the pretest to measure their growth.  They love to see their progress!    We spent about a week and a half really digging into prompts.  I broke it down into steps for them.  We started with a pretty easy prompt and then I modeled for them.

      I find that kiddos always get hung up on just reading the prompt. Some prompts kiddos really do not have any experience with the activity given.  I have seen prompts such as, Tell about a time you went on vacation.  Describe a problem you had to overcome.  or  Write a letter to your librarian about your favorite book.  Explain why that book should be on display.    I often hear, "But I've never done that," or "I haven't been on vacation." or "I don't have a favorite book."    Well, great.... they are stuck before they even start.  It is important to explain that they can use their IMAGINATIONS.  They can make it up.  Of course we talk about it being realistic, as we wouldn't take a vacation to the moon or something like that.

    After each step, I model for them exactly what I am looking for.  This is a very basic example above, but the outline helps them remember what to include.  We talk about the thesis being our roadmap to the entire essay.

    Lots of kiddos slack off when it come to the conclusion.  They just want to say, "And that is what I would do on a rainy day."  BORING!  Yawn, snore!  We talk about the reader having memory loss and they have no idea what you just talked about.  You must repeat it.  

Once my kiddos completed each step, (we did one paragraph a day)  they put it all together in the form of a book so we could take a look at their progress.  We took a piece of large construction paper and folded it in half.  

On the front, they designed a title page.
 On the left, they stapled or glued the brainstorm with the rough draft underneath.

On the right, they stapled in their final copy.  We used final copy paper from our MAP Prep books.  You can use any lined paper.  (You can see the rough draft on the right-they labeled each section with a sticky note so they could PROVE they had each piece.)

On the very back, they stapled their pretest.  It was so funny to hear them talking to each other.  Some of them were like, "Wow, look at how much more I wrote in my final copy!"

Here is another kiddo's example.

 Another pretest.

If you have never heard of Learn Zillion, you need to check it out!  They have an interactive lesson for writing prompts as well as many others!

Do you have any fun ideas for writing prompts?


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