S.W.A.G. Supporting, Scaffolding, Speaking, Sentence, Subject, and Structured Writing Across Grades with Open Ended, Short/Extended, and Essay Responses
Imagine a world where students are ready for open-ended, short/extended answer and essay questions before they're even responsible or accountable to answer them at the state level!!! It's entirely possible if that is the S.W.A.G. of your campus or district!
This is a four part video recorded webinar series on open-ended, short answer, extended answer, and essay response questions that I will call S.W.A.G. It will stand for Speaking, Supporting, Scaffolding, Subject, Sentence, and Structured Writing Across Grade and will come with all the files used in the webinar in a pdf digital format or link. You will receive a certificate of six to 8 hours of ELAR staff development/training with this webinar purchase. The videos will be spread out over a period of about two weeks to give you a chance to digest and process the ideas and suggestions for each one.
It will be way too much to ask third through eighth grade reading teachers to carry the weight and responsibility of open ended responses alone. That is sort of what happened with 4th and 7th grade writing all these years! Teachers were being asked to do in six to eight months what was needing to be done in six to eight years! I understand that the questions will be strictly reading TEKS, but the content will be across almost all subjects. It is critical for your future success on these type of questions to start by building a solid foundation this coming school year. I was telling a principal that if we can make open-ended questions a WE thing and not a ME the reading teacher only thing that it would be wonderful!
Here is the breakdown of the videos in the order that you will receive them over the next week or two.
Part One: Speaking Writing Across Grades (differentiating questions and responses auditorily and verbally for non writers/readers)
As a result of the difficult events over the past 15 months, many students are functioning way below grade level when it comes to listening, speaking, reading, and writing. This portion of the webinar will help teachers with strategies for students from pre-k to 2nd grade, and/or kids who are older, but functioning on that ability level. I will model and mentor how non-readers and/or writers can still Speak Writing Across Grades and be able to verbally answer questions in a complete sentence. You will learn kinesthetic methods to make them become consciously aware of C.UP.S. without even touching a pencil or piece of paper! They will learn that every sentence starts with a capital, C, has a subject and a verb called U for Usage, needs an ending punctuation, P, and to understand what a complete sentence, S sounds and eventually looks like!
Part Two: Sentence Writing Across Grades (responding to questions in a complete typed or written sentence)
One of the most difficult trips your students will ever take in school is learning how to graduate and move their thoughts about a topic or question from their mouths, down their arms and out of their pencils! We live an open ended world everywhere we go until we get inside the walls of our schools,where everything becomes multiple choice! It is during this portion of the webinar that students will learn to ask and answer questions that do NOT require simple yes or no responses. In addition, many students don't carefully read the questions that are being asked, so they write responses that have nothing to do with the question whatsoever. It is only when ALL students are accountable for starting with this foundation of answering a question with a complete sentence that scaffolding to the next level will be possible.
Part Three: Subject Writing Across Grades (short answer/word, phrase, sentence, and paragraph/extended responses)
"Beginning in the spring of 2024, 100% of informational texts on STAAR Reading and English EOC assessments will be based on cross curricular content covered in other subject area TEKS". Source: Texas Education Agency Reading Language Arts Redesign Video from June 2021
Even though the TEA video stresses that the questions will be solely from Reading TEKS, unless your students have the background knowledge they need to learn in other subject areas, research says that they will struggle much more than students WITH prior experiences or background knowledge. This video(s) will focus on how to ask open ended questions in a way that will required scaffolded responses that go from words, to phrases, a single sentence, and up to a paragraph/extended response.
Part Four: Structured Writing Across Grades (Extended and Essay Responses)
For some grade levels, students will be required to respond to questions from informative and literary passages with complete essays. The writing will be scored based on three traits that I call D.O.C. (Development, Organization, and Conventions) I will share with you in this section of the webinar how to have the correct STRUCTURE to get the highest score without having to rely on a cookie cutter FORMULA. In formula writiing, almost all the students respond with the exact same opening and/or closing sentence, use the same words, or make statements that repeat the question word for word. This interesting fact was told to me by several readers: You have to remember that because of the barcoding on the tests numbered sequentially, it can often be the same person who is reading the responses of everyone in your class! I completely understand that many kids need a very simple formula to follow, but you DON'T want your middle or higher level kids getting lower grades because the reader got so bored that he or she was no longer paying attention to what they were reading! Too much constant repetition from one student to the next results in responses that are difficult to focus on and monotonous. In one of the portions of this last section of the webinar, you will learn techniques that will be content specific, applicable, practical, and student friendly in terms of implementation all the way up to 12th grade for high level inferencing and critical thinking type questions.