The other day the fourth graders took a test to show what they knew about various types of writing prompts and how to approach them. There was a multiple choice section, where they had to circle the type of prompt given: a) imaginative narrative; b) non-fiction narrative; c) expository; or d) persuasive. Then they had to underline the “clue” words in the prompt, such as “convince.”
We have been working on reading and evaluating various writing prompts, and most of the students did well on this task. Then they were to choose one of the prompts and create two organizers to assist them with writing.
Again, we’ve been working on this, and we’ve had lots of discussion about what should be included and why. The students have practiced each of the types of writing mentioned above several times this past school year. They ought to know what to do. In most cases, they do.
Correcting these tests was fairly gratifying, because the vast majority of the students did very well. The students with identified learning disabilities and the two who I am working hard to get services, did not do well at all. They just don’t have it yet. I wasn’t surprised. Those kids need many more exposures to concepts than most of their peers. They learn new concepts, just not as quickly as other kids. If we give up trying to teach them, they won’t get it because they won’t have had enough exposures to the concept.
What is she telling me? Lots. For starters, she has a wonderful family that not only took her on vacation but filled the time with lots of interesting things to do. It also tells me that those experiences made a difference. She remembers what she saw and did in San Francisco. This work also shows me that she needs some additional instruction on capitalization. She’s not sure when to use it appropriately. She does, however, know how to brainstorm and then select the topics she wishes to develop further.
The last thing it shows me, however, is the best one of all. She showed me that she has a misconception about Fisherman’s Wharf. She made my afternoon with her inclusion of “fisherman’s dwarfs.” Oh sweet girl, how will I break it to you? Or maybe I’ll let your parents do that. After all, they’re the ones that took you there.