Fishbowl Finishing and Student-Created Tests

Today’s class was a hodgepodge of activities.  We first, wrapped up our general thoughts from yesterday’s fishbowl discussion of both novels’ themes.  Then, I took a moment to discuss the Character Chart, the top half of which was due today.  The completed version of this chart is due on Monday, March 9th, 2015.  (Side note: The “Vocabulary in Context” assignment, which was given this week, is due next Wednesday, March 11th, 2015.)

Next, we harnessed the power of the iPads and Google Docs, as the students created their own multiple choice test questions and submit them into this Google Form.  This will count as each student’s grade for the day and these questions will be used for review and subsequently, for the final test over the novel as well.

Once each student finished this task, they were able to work on their own and read in the time remaining in class.


  • Read through:
    • TKAM- Chapter 18
    • ROTHMC- Chapter 7


The Anatomy (and Purpose) of a Constructed Response

With the shift away from the CRCT and the 8th grade Georgia Middle Grades Writing Assessment to the Georgia Milestones (the new, end-of grade standards-based assessment), students need to be informed of how to more clearly show what they know through their writing.  In essence, the CRCT provided standards-based questions for Social Studies, Math, Science, Reading, and English Language arts in multiple choice format only.  The 8th grade Georgia Middle Grades Writing Assessment, on the other hand, required 8th graders (this assessment was also given at the 5th grade level) to read a writing prompt and construct a timed essay in roughly 100 minutes.  The Georgia Milestones provides a hybrid of these two testing formats and issues them to all students of all grade levels (with grade-appropriate questions, passages, etc.).

Today’s lesson used yesterday’s “Response to a Response” assignment as a segue into understanding the constructed responses (student-created answers) the students will be asked to provide on the upcoming Georgia Milestones.

So, what is a “constructed response”?  According to the ASCD (The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development), a “constructed response” is where students provide their own answer to a question as opposed to multiple choice questions where students are provided with four or five answer choices or “fill-in-blank” questions where students have to, well, fill in the blank based upon their accumulated content knowledge.  The goal is to provide an assessment that helps students show what they know as accurately as possible.

I took time to show the students examples of constructed response questions (a.k.a. prompts) and actual student answers from published tests ( example below).  Not only will knowing how to answer constructed response questions benefit students on the upcoming Georgia Milestones, but will help students better address similar assessment questions in high school and college.  Furthermore, it will help students better cite and expound upon any evidence they draw from outside sources when communicating through any media (especially written media).

Constructed Response Example



  • Read for 30 minutes.


Vocabulary Unit Test and More: Friday, October 3rd, 2014

On this rainy Friday, we took some time to take it easy in class…well sort of.  The students began class with roughly ten minutes to review their vocabulary words once more (from lessons 1-4) before taking their Vocabulary from Classical Roots Unit test.  This multiple-choice exam featured questions asking the students to choose the best word to complete a sentence, find synonyms, antonyms, and incorrect usage of their vocabulary words.  As each student finished the test, he or she could then work on the argumentative writing essay we had previously begun in class.  This essay is one we will complete, revise, edit, and publish in class.


  • Read for 30 minutes.
  • Extra Credit (10 pts to lowest quiz grade): Log onto and join your class’ blog group.  Follow the instructions below.

PowerPoint: 10.3.14 Vocabulary Roots Unit Test (lessons 1-4) and Argumentative Writing

Friday, November 9th, 2012

It took the students a bit longer than I had originally anticipated to complete their in-class essays.  Thus, I had them submit these plus their completed Unit One Study Guides as their Unit One Exam.

PowerPoint: Nov. 9. 2012 Write it Out! Part Trois and Exam Day