EOC Writing Test Prep with Noticings and an Inquiry Stance

We’re sprinting toward EOC testing this Friday with some inquiry stance/noticings based activities for informational/explanatory constructed response prompts and extended constructed response narrative prompts.  Using materials available to the public from the Georgia Department of Education, students had opportunities to read literary and informational texts.  We then looked at possible constructed response and extended constructed response prompts (see my previous blog post for a description) based on each of these texts.

Students were asked to read the passages and examine the two possible prompts attached to that text.  Students then had the opportunity to think about:

  • What is the prompt asking you to do?
  • How would you go about planning, organizing, and designing your response?
  • What ideas/strategies are important to keep in mind as you construct and compose your response?

Students jotted down their ideas on a graphic organizer I provided them.  We then did a large group share out and compiled a list responses.  I then projected exemplars for each prompt on the board with the LCD projector and students completed the final column of the graphic organizer by jotting down their noticings about the exemplar prompts.  This final piece of the thinking activity led to one more round of large group discussion and a chance for students to compare their original list of ideas to the second list of noticings with the exemplars.

This activity is great to do because it gets students thinking about how they might attack these kinds of prompts as writers, but it is also especially helpful if you don’t have time to have students do a full-blown draft of these kinds of prompts.  Last but not least, this activity is a great formative assessment to quickly identify gaps in understandings.  For example, from our conversations today I quickly heard a few students misunderstood the second prompt, and I easily had a teachable moment.  These noticings may sound simple on the surface, but the activity forces students to do some deep thinking as well as a chance to engage in dialogue and learn from their peers

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