Sunday, November 16, 2014

Taking a Closer Look at PARCC, part 2

Principal ponderings...
I am waiting to hear back from Pearson about the math PBA (Performance Based Assessment).  As soon as I hear about it, I hope to share some sample math problems with you.  Today, I am sharing a 3rd grade EAL PBA example.  This would be a text-based narrative response that students would be expected to complete.  The one I shared a few weeks ago was a literary analysis task.  Let's all read the passage and think about how we would become the character and write a journal entry.  Think about the reading and writing skills that our students will need in order to complete this task.

Today you will read the story “A Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience.” Pay close attention to the actions of the characters and the events in the story. Answer the questions to help you prepare to write a narrative story.


A Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience
by Sandra Beswetherick
1 It was my idea to invite Derrick, the new kid in our neighborhood, on our annual father-and-son weekend trip. Derrick had never been camping or fishing.
2 “Great idea!” Dad said. “It’ll be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for him, one he’ll never forget.”
3 Dad and I didn’t realize how true that would turn out to be.
4 The car blew a tire on the way to our campsite. Not an impressive start.
5 “A minor setback, that’s all,” Dad said as Derrick and I tumbled out of the car to help.
6 It was dark by the time we reached the campsite, got the boat into the water, and set up the tent. There was a stiff, icy breeze blowing off the lake.
7 Derrick shivered as he examined the sky. “That isn’t snow, is it?”
8 “Snow?” I said.
9 “It never snows in March!” Dad protested.
10 But those big flakes fell fast and heavy, blanketing the ground.
11 I burst out laughing. Derrick grinned. But Dad was horrified. He hustled us into the tent so we wouldn’t catch pneumonia or something. But first he made sure we didn’t track any snow into the tent with us.
12 “We need to keep the floor dry,” Dad insisted. “There’s nothing worse than sleeping in wet sleeping bags.”
13 He passed out sandwiches after we settled in. “Minor setback,” he assured Derrick. “The snow should be gone tomorrow.” Dad reached for the large bottle of cola to pour us each a drink.
14 Maybe the cola was warm, or maybe it had been jostled too much, because when Dad opened it, that bottle erupted like Mount Vesuvius. Cola overflowed like lava. Dad dropped the bottle. It rolled across the tent floor spewing its contents, and we ended up perched on our sleeping bags like castaways adrift in a cola sea.
15 Derrick clapped both hands over his mouth. His face turned red, and his cheeks ballooned out as if he were about to explode, too. From behind his hands came the snuffling and snorting of trapped laughter.
16 I tried to keep a straight face, out of respect for Dad—not just because he’d insisted that we keep the tent floor dry, but because he’d wanted this trip to be perfect.
17 “Minor setback,” Dad muttered as we soaked up cola with our towels.
18 The next morning dawned bright and beautiful, much to Dad’s relief. Derrick stood at the water’s edge, admiring the clear still lake, the tree-lined shore, and the cloudless sky.
19 “Wait until you catch your first fish, Derrick,” Dad said as he got the boat ready. “That’s an experience you won’t forget.” Dad turned to me. “Right, Steve?”
20 “Right, Dad,” I answered.
21 “And wait until you taste some fried, freshly caught fish for breakfast,” Dad said. “Right, Steve?”
22 “Right, Dad,” I said, although I thought Dad was trying a little too hard.
23 But Derrick didn’t catch his first fish. In fact, none of us felt even a nibble on our lines. This wasn’t a minor setback for Dad. This was a major disaster.
24 The silence grew. The still air settled hot and heavy.
25 I leaned over the side of the boat. “Fishy,” I sang into the depths of the lake. “Come on, I know you’re down there.” It sure beat sitting around in silence. And we weren’t catching any fish anyway.
26 Derrick joined in. “Fishy,” he crooned, looking down into the water. “Here, fish, fish.” When he turned back to me, his eyes were bulged, his mouth was puckered, and he was gulping down air the way a fish gulps water. The perfect fish-face!
27 I let out a whoop and made a fish-face of my own, my open hands on either side of my head for gills. “Fishy!”
28 Derrick and I turned our fish-faces toward Dad. There sat Dad with the goggled eyes and downturned frown of his favorite fish, the largemouth bass. “Fishy, fishy, bite my hook,” he chanted in a throaty voice, “so I can take you home to cook.”
29 Derrick hooted with laughter and fell into the bottom of the boat. Dad’s bass frown upturned into a grin.
30 Lucky that Dad’s mood improved when it did, because it was about then that the boat started sinking.
31 “Mr. Adams,” Derrick asked, “should there be this much water in your boat?”
32 “Holy mackerel!” Dad yelled. He reached for the motor. “You guys, bail!”
33 We barely reached shore, the boat sloshing with water.
34 That night, as we sat around the campfire toasting marshmallows, Derrick admitted he’d been worried about coming on the trip. “But it’s been incredible,” he said. “I’ll never forget it. Thanks for inviting me.”
35 “You’re welcome,” said Dad. “We’re glad you came.”
36 “I wonder what will happen next?” Derrick asked, putting another marshmallow on his stick.
37 “Yeah,” I said. “I wonder.”
38 As for Dad, he smiled a brave smile.

“A Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience” by Sandra Beswetherick from Highlights for Children Magazine’s March 2006 issue, copyright © 2006 by Highlights for Children, Inc., Columbus, Ohio. Used by permission.

This story tells about Derrick’s first camping trip.
Write Derrick’s journal entry about this camping trip. Include information about how the characters responded to the events in the story as you write the journal entry.

Currently reading:
It's still Picture Book Month, and I have more picture books to share with you.  I just had my baby shower this weekend and can you believe that part of the shower was everyone giving me a book!? Guess my family and friends know me so well. ;)
I was especially excited to get this beautiful treasure chest from a math teacher that I used to work with...she made it!  Perfect place to store lots of books in the nursery!
Here are some books I received that I read and can't wait to read to my baby girl!  The Paper Bag Princess is definitely a book that I will read to her.  Hope she will be just like the main character, Elizabeth.
Here is a great book that my mother gave me which will help little ones discover the magical world inside a book.
My sister gave me this funny book, Marcel the Shell: The Most Surprised I've Ever Been.
Brown Bear's Wonderful Secret is another great picture book; readers can try to guess along with the animals about what Bear's secret is.

Events this week:
Monday - Latin class @ 3:30
Tuesday - Latin and Spanish class @ 3:30, School Council Meeting @ 3:30
Wednesday - Grade 2 Chorus practice @ 2:25 in the gym, Library Fund Committee Meeting @ 8:30, NESN film crew interviewing 1st & 2nd graders from 12:30-2:30, Staff Meeting @ 3:30
Friday - Trimester 1 ends

Great things I noticed last week:
Unfortunately, being out of the building for 1 full day, plus all morning on Friday, and the fact that we had no school on Tuesday...I sorry to say that I don't have any photos to share this week.  I plan on fixing that problem this week!.  But I still noticed several great things this week...

  • We had workers in the building in the evenings who began installing all brand new lighting throughout the school.  What a difference new bulbs makes!  Everything is so much brighter!
  • I popped into some 1st grade classrooms and overheard students talking about the commutative property.
  • On Friday afternoon, I met my mentor, Sharon Kennelly.  She is the principal of the John A. Crisafulli Elementary School in Westford.  After just a few minutes, I could tell that she will be a great support system for me, and I am looking forward to continuing to grow as a result of this new relationship.  I will be going to observe her at her school and you will probably see her here at Florence Roche as well.
  • We had a set of twins start in 3rd grade on Wednesday.  On Monday, when I brought the family around to meet the teachers and see the classrooms, the students in both classes were so welcoming and helped the boys to feel less anxious about starting at a new school.  And both classes had even made cards to welcome them!  It was great to see these simple acts of kindness.  Keep going with the ripple effect of spreading kindness throughout our school!
Check it out:
Discovered this diagram on twitter and loved it...thought I would share with all of you.
Love this quick blog post: Are you a leaner or a learner?

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