. Regurgitated Alpha Bits: How I See Things

Saturday, January 21, 2012

How I See Things

We have this big ole writing test here in California that all fourth graders take in March.

(Hey State of California, I have a GREAT idea for something you could cut to save money...)

We try to incorporate writing across the curriculum all year long to develop the kids' skills.

We also begin FRANTICALLY writing essays riiiiiight about this time of year as well...

Expository summaries, narrative summaries, narratives, and response to literature essays are literally pouring out of our heads.

You do get quite an insight into their minds when you're reading so many of their thoughts on paper.

I'm learning that my impression of the inner workings of some of them is spot on.

For example, this week we read a pourquoi tale that tells the story of why the sun and the moon live in the sky. In a nutshell, Sun and Moon always wanted to invite their friend Water over, but their house was too small to accommodate all of him. They expanded their home and invited him, however when he arrived he took up so much space that they had to rise up into the sky to stay dry. Luckily, they learned they liked it up there and have remained ever since.

We used this piece to write a response to literature essay, which requires the kids to identify a theme in the story and connect that theme to their own lives.

My Impression: Her "on switch" remains hidden, and she always seems disinterested. Tough to motivate, but I'm still looking for ways.
Her Sun and Moon Theme: Never try too hard. 
Evidence: Sun and Moon tried hard to make their friend happy, but ended up losing their house.
Her Connection to life: I don't work hard at anything. Hard work is too much work. My mom works and goes to dance classes at night, but I like to just want to watch tv. 

My Impression: Always the victim. To him, everyone is working against him.
His Sun and Moon Theme: Don't let a friend get the upper hand.
Evidence: Sun and Moon invited Water over, but he stole their house from them.
Connection to life: People take advantage of me all the time. You can't trust them. 

You know what they say, perspective is everything. When I read the story, I only saw the positive messages hidden within it, but clearly it has a different message to others. 

Thankfully, there were also kids like this:

My Impression: Will help anyone. Always volunteers to give time to others.
Her Sun and Moon Theme: Being generous leads to good things.  
Evidence: Inviting their friend over, even though they lost their house, lead them to learn that the sky was an even better place to live. They never would have learned that if they hadn't been generous about wanting to have their friend over. 
Her Connection to life: Because I try to help people, I have lots of friends.

There is hope!


Ginger Snaps said...

Our state requires 5th grade to take the Writing Test in March also. We used to in 3rd but they changed it a couple of years ago. I think it's ridiculous that they have to take it so early.

Teacherfish said...

But if they saved all that money- how could they ever evaluate teachers? Everyone knows the only way to evaluate a "good" teacher is to over test the students.
And Ginger Snaps- be careful what you wish for- in our state the ELA exams used to be in January- so we could actually spend the spring term teaching something- but they moved them to April- so we're back to test prep All year.

Miss Angel said...

Wow, that is pretty cool how you can learn about the inner workings of kids by reading their essays... it is almost like a fortune teller! :D

Leah said...

How interesting... the things we can discover about children and the ways in which they read into literature. I guess that literature serves as a Rorschach test for the student and the teacher who is privileged enough to read the student's essay.