Fourth Grade MCAS Prep: ELA Composition and Reading Test

In Massachusetts, our standardized test is the MCAS.  And in fourth grade, we have 2 ELA MCAS tests we take in March.  One is for writing, and the other is for reading.  However, students need to be able to write on both of these tests, and the type of writing is very different.  We need to prepare students for both types of writing (narrative and expository).

The added challenge this year was the fact that we had a snow day that postponed our writing test.  Every district has to take the writing test on the same day in order to keep the test secure (there is a single writing prompt, so of course, it would not be acceptable for that question to be leaked)!  So when this date was changed, it meant that our district had to move one of our reading test dates, and give the writing test in between reading test days.

So although the students have been thoroughly prepared for both tests, they need to be flexible enough to go back and forth between writing tasks without a day of review in between.  My solution was to prepare them a few days before with a Venn diagram.

As you can see, we use the ANSWER method to for written responses to reading.  The ARMS and CUPS acronyms have been courtesy of Pinterest (those links will bring you to those fantastic anchor charts).  And DYB means to "Do Your Best!" 

Do you have any anchor charts that help your students distinguish between types of writing they've focused on this year?
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  1. Wow- the Long Comp and ELA sessions back to back and split! I can't imagine how hard that was on your little darlings. I teach fifth, but I helped proctor the Long Comp, and we had to hold the buses for some kids still writing. How did it work out? Are you done? We did our long comp Monday, 5th grade ELA Tuesday and Wednesday, and then 4th grade will go back next week and do their ELA sessions. Hoping it went well for you!

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  2. We have one more ELA session this week. I think they all worked really hard and did the best they could; that's all we can really ask, right? :) That and cross our fingers that it never gets snowed out ever again!! You must be psyched that your fifth graders are done. :)


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