Countdown to ISAT

These last two weeks are all about ISAT prep and finishing up Winter MAP goals. We finished up Winter MAP goals today, and we’ve got 3 more days before the reading ISAT and 8 more days before the Math ISAT. We’ve just finished up geometry in math and are thankfully moving on to measurement for the next two weeks, just in time.

It has been very stressful trying to make sure the students are prepared for all possible math, and I worry as I see the gaps coming out during math goals and any math review. I’m glad we will have gotten through a lot of the text by the time they see material on the test, though. The hardest is trying to get extra time for problem-solving in. I know that is a critical component of the test, and I wish we’d had more time to practice it. Last year we spent a month or two during writing time practicing math extended response. I didn’t want to do that this year. I wanted the students to enjoy writing and get some authentic writing in. So, that means it’s countdown to ISAT, and I’m trying to expose the students to problems as much as possible these last days. The students did fairly well on the problem-solving part today. The T-chart is going to be a bit of a challenge. . .

Reading is going ok. The students are working very hard on the ISAT review packets, and working in partners seems to be going very well. Their extended responses are a bit weak. Most of them are giving “2” answers, and they need to give a little more explanation or a little more text support. Tomorrow I’m going to show them some more on-line samples so they have an idea of how much detail they need in their responses. I worry whether the students will remember terms like “synonym” and “antonym”, different genres, and different prefixes and suffixes. I know that time is almost up. . . Since the goals are done, I’d like to walk around and work with the partners as they find answers to the practice tests. Maybe I could focus on helping them with the extended response as I move from group to group. We’re almost done with Mr. Popper’s Penguins. I hope my pull-out reading group can get a chance to listen to the book on CD or to read it. Then, we’ll go back to Bridge to Terabithia. That is a beautiful book, but very difficult for them. I hope they can understand most of it when I read it to them.

I told the students that they would have the principal in the room with them during ISATs. I told them that I was going to be a little nervous, since she is my boss, but that this is going to be great because if they have any questions about the test, she is an expert and can help with any questions or concerns they might have. (And for me personally, it will be great to have an extra set of eyes in the room to make sure the students are doing ok and are focused on their own tests.)

I think the students are a bit nervous, but I think they’ll be ready. They are a hard-working group, and I know they’ll do their best. I have been very impressed with their efforts in class so far. (I wish they gave the same effort on their homework!) I have one or two who tend to rush through every assessment, so I am concerned about them, but I can only remind them to take their time and hope for the best. Even my newcomers and students who receive services have made incredible progress this year, so even though the test will be difficult for them, they will be able find the answers if they keep at it, and they will have all the time that they need. Everything this year has been leading up to this point (besides the new MAP tests that we will have again in the Spring). I’m looking forward to getting these next weeks done.

Image: criminalatt /

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