Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Passing the AIMS Reading, Writing and Math Test 2011-2012

Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) is a standardized test administered by the state of Arizona. AIMS tests are developed and published by Pearson and is a standards based assessment aligned to the Arizona Academic Content Standards. The TAKS test developed for Texas is also developed and published by Pearson. Students with a passing or exceeds score on the TAKS will likely pass the AIMS!
The AIMS writing test is given starting at the 5th and is very difficult for many Arizona students.

The AIMS writing test is made up of two parts, the student responses to a prompt, and a multiple choice writing conventions test. Two areas that need equal attention and must be mastered to pass the AIMS  writing test. At risk students should be instructed to use a systematic graphic organizer. Students must have time and multiple opportunities to learn the critical tier 2 and their 3 vocabulary that they will find on the multiple choice section of the writing test.  I use a STEAL Characterization chart with my students to enhance reading instruction and writing instruction when ever possible to get students thinking and using this powerful tool. I also expose my students daily to the academic writing vocabulary.
Please use the sample STEAL chart below to start getting your student ready to pass the STAAR Writing Test this spring.  
Academic Vocabulary Tier 3 Writing Glossary
Writing Assessment Online 4th

Writing Assessment Online7th

How to Pass any State Writing Test: Tips on Passing Writing Test Grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. 

State standardized writing test are divided into two parts: Writing test part one, response to a prompt, writing test part two multiple choice English Language Arts test. 

Doing your Best on The Multiple Choice Part!

Students mast have time to prepare for state writing test, so if you are studying the night before your test, you need to study the ELA tier 3 academic testing vocabulary.

The fastest way to prepare for the multiple choice English Language Arts portion of the test is playing games.
Reading / ELA Vocabulary Games 

Doing your Best on The Written Response Part! 

The real secret to passing ALL State writing test is thinking like the Fins (people of Finland), formative practice, formative practice, formative practice test with a well thought-out graphic organizer, using a similar or previously released testing instrument if possible. School districts that administer High Stakes Test usually administer some form of summative assessments looking at the final scores, skipping all the writing steps that students need to know when writing competently. Formative writing test gives students and the teachers more ways to evaluate the entire writing process. My students practice and rehearse “writing success” with tools designed to make the writing process kid friendly.

Sit down with your team and design a graphic organizer that the kids can use. Start out with a simplified version and gradually make it more structured and competent.

The students in my class use a simple STEAL chart with pictures of lips for the S in speech, a picture of a brain for the T in thoughts and so on. Again the secret is formative assessment with lots of feedback and a graphic organizer to match the assessment.
In Short! Students must practice using a systematic graphic organizer that covers expository, persuasive, and or narrative writing depending on the test they take. Students must also learn the critical tier 3 vocabulary that they will find on the multiple choice section of the writing test. Students must be given the tools to succeed!

I use a STEAL Characterization chart to enhance the students understanding of the structures of writing whenever possible and to prepare students for state testing. My students have to take three normed writing assessment every year. Teaching them to use a systematic graphic organizer and sorry to say formulaic writing process has gained my students some of the highest writing scores in the state! Our class has the highest number of students that exceed and meets compared to other Title one schools. The past 4 years my students have had an amazing passing rate of 94% on state writing test. I also expose my students daily to the academic writing vocabulary.

Best Practices in the Teaching of Writing
A Prezi on Expository writing 4th Grade Expository Benchmark Model 
Six Traits Writers Work Shop Handbook

Types of Writing Test

Narrative writing is a constructive format that describes a sequence of non-fictional or fictional events in a story. The word "story" may be used as a synonym of "narrative", but can also be used to refer to the sequence of events described in a narrative. A narrative can also be told by a character within a larger narrative.

Expository writing is a type of writing where the purpose is to inform, describe, explain, or define the author's subject to the reader. Expository text is meant to deposit information and is the most frequently used type of writing by students in colleges, high schools, middle schools, elementary schools and universities. A well-written exposition remains focused on its topic and lists events in chronological order. Examples of expository writing include driving directions and instructions on performing a task. Key words such as first, after, next, then, last, before that, and usually signal sequential writing. Second-person instructions with "you" are acceptable.However, the use of first-person pronouns should be avoided ( For example, I, I think etc...). Expository essays should not reveal the opinion of the writer.

Persuasive writing, also referred to as a creative writing or an argument, is a piece of writing in which the writer uses words to convince the reader of his/her view regarding an issue. Persuasive writing sometimes involves convincing the reader to perform an action, or it may simply consist of an argument(s) convincing the reader of the writer’s point of view. Persuasive writing is one of the most used writing types in the world. Persuasive writers employ many techniques to improve their argument and show support for their claim. Simply put, persuasive writing is "an essay that offers and supports an opinion".
Please use the sample STEAL chart below or design your own to start getting your students ready to pass the FCAT, CRCT, MCAS, PASS, CRT, AIMS, STAAR, TAKS, PAWS, STA 10, CSAP, CMT, ISTEP, SOL, NJ ASK, NC EOG, OAA, ... Writing Test this spring.

Academic ELA Vocabulary Tier 3 Writing Glossary

Sample of a few of my Graphic Organizers that students train on.

Develop your own graphic organizers that help your students master expository/personal narrative writing.

“The Silver Bullet” STEAL Graphic Organizer | Characterization Chart
96% Meets or Exceeds on State Writing Test | 25% Exceeding on State Writing Test 
Narrative and a bit of Expressive writing  
Verbs and Adverbs
EXPOSITION Topic Sentence W.W.W. Who, What, and WHY!  What: My first roller coaster ride Who: I am Alone Why: My parents are afraid to ride the Matterhorn
Topic Sentence It introduces the main idea of the paragraph
Nouns and Adjectives
Debated decided dedicated valued chose cleaned
S – Speech/ Speaking / Dialogue
Speech What does the character say (YOU, FRIENDS, FAMILY)?
swift ancient modern bitter sweet alert sane
vaulted viewed visualized volunteered Captured cared for carried caught categorized challenged
T – thoughts/feelings/attitudes
Thoughts What is important about the character’s thoughts and feelings (YOU, FRIENDS, FAMILY)?
attractive sticky fuzzy giant fresh  graceful harsh whispering puny harsh noisy quiet shrill
championed changed checked cleared closed coached commanded commended
E – emotions/effects on others
Effect How do other characters feel or behave or react to the characters?
teeny massive careful cheap expensive rainy crystal sore dangerous combative
concentrated confronted constructed consulted continued controlled convinced cooperated copied corrected counseled
A – actions
Actions What does the character do? How does the character behave?
weary dull drab dim aggressive mellow fancy excited scared filthy superior lazy excited hungry crazy
created customized joined judged observed tackled talked targeted tasted taught obtained offered translated

L – looks/ settings/ imagery/ what
Looks What do you see? What do the characters look like? How does the character dress?
poor rich busy anxious steep skinny petite tiny miniscule salty delicious terrible dead alive huge tremendous elderly handsome ugly beautiful shiny
Verbs and Adverbs

RISING ACTION Topic Sentence W.W.W. Who, What, and WHY!
Nouns and Adjectives

S – Speech/ Speaking / Dialogue

T – thoughts/feelings

E – effects/emotions on others

A – actions

L – looks/ settings

Verbs and Adverbs
RISING ACTION Topic Sentence W.W.W. Who, What, and WHY!
Nouns and Adjectives

S – Speech/ Speaking / Dialogue

T – thoughts/feelings

E – effects/emotions on others

A – actions

L – looks/ settings

“The Silver Bullet II” STEAL Students Graphic Organizer
96% Meets or Exceeds on State Writing Test | 25% Exceeding on State Writing Test

Expository Writing with a bit of Narrative to meet the Six Traits of Writing
 Narrative with a bit of Expository Structures

INTRODUCTION Topic Sentence It introduces the main idea of the paragraph

S – Speech/ Speaking / Dialogue
elaboration (mini-story)Speech What are people saying (YOU, FRIENDS, FAMILY)?

T – thoughts/feelings/attitudes
elaboration (mini-story)
Thoughts What is important about the  thoughts and feelings (YOU, FRIENDS, FAMILY)?

E –effects on others / emotions/
elaboration (mini-story)
Effect How do other characters feel or behave or react to the characters?

A – actions
Actions What are people doing? What are their actions? How does the character behave?

L – looks/ settings/ imagery/
Looks What do you see? What do the  events and action look like?

CONCLUSION / Transitions

Persuasive Essay Graphic Organizer

Prompt Topic

Should all kids go to academic summer camp?

Hook |
pester / persuade / plea
Academic summer camps increases academic performance, resiliency, critical thinking, and problem solving skills.
Opinion |
judgment / attitude / belief
Giving all students a leg up is critical if we want to remain a first world nation not slide into a third world nation.
Thoughts | thoughts/feelings/attitudes
We need to find a way that all students have the opportunity to attend summer camp or “SuperCamp” not just a very small percentage of rich children.
Emotions | emotions/effects on others

If we are going to sentence our children to 16 years of school we should have the decency to make it a truly amazing 16 years not just testing factories.
Logic | deduce/convince/  reason 
The new Common Core Standards are designed to help bridge the academic achievement gap and prepare US students for the increasingly complex information age but they are just words if students are not exposed to many academic opportunities.

Tier 3 Test Vocabulary for the ELA portions of the writing Test!
Mr. Taylor's Kid Friendly Academic Vocabulary

Third Grade

A book of maps or a book of tables, charts, pictures on one subject.
Mr. Taylor has a world atlas in his classroom.

A shorter form of a word or phrase, i.e. AZ for Arizona.
The abbreviation for the United States of America is U.S.A.

A word that modifies a verb by identifying time, place, speed, etc.
Quickly is an adverb in the sentence "Jose quickly finished his homework. "

A word opposite in meaning to another word.
Cold is the antonym of hot.

The mark used to show a letter or letters have been left out of a word or phrase or to show ownership.
Example of letters left out: You've is short for "you have" and an apostrophe shows that "have" is missing two letters.
Example of ownership: Mr. Taylor's class reads several books each year.
Example of ownership: The apostrophe in the sentence "Mr. Taylor's class reads several books each year." shows the class belongs to Mr. Taylor.

One meaning of "bias" is to like or dislike one thing over another.
Claudia has bias for chocolate over all other candy.

chronological order
To arrange events in the order they occurred.
In chronological order, our class has computer lab on Monday, music on Tuesday, gym on Wednesday, library on Thursday, and art on Friday.

complete sentence
complete sentence includes at least a subject and a verb.
"Claudia ran." is a complete sentence.

context clues
Words, phrases or sentences around a new word that helps the reader make a logical guess about the meaning of the new word.
Use context clues to figure out what a new word means.

A word or phrase shortened by leaving out one or more letters or sounds.
"You'll" is the contraction of "you will."

compound word
compound word is made when two words are joined to form a new word.
The words "shoe" and "string" are joined to form the compound word "Shoestring."

The history of a persons life.
If you become famous, someone will write your biography.

To tell or write about something.
Please describe your backpack.

A sentence that makes a statement.
"The earth is round." is a declarative sentence.

A book of alphabetically listed words with their meanings and other information.
Students need a dictionary when they go to college.

A sudden, angry outcry; to cry out; shout; or speak suddenly in surprise, etc.
"Lillian, be quiet! shouted her mother is an exclamatory phrase.

Something that really happened; truth; actuality; things as they exist.
It is a fact that the moon revolves around the earth.

fairy take
fairy tale is a type of short story with fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, dwarves, giants or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments.
The story "Jack and the Beanstalk" is a fairy tale.

folk tale
A story or legend originating and traditional among a group of people (folk = people), especially one forming part of the spoken tradition of the everyday people.
The stories about Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox are folk tales.

Asking a question.
"Do you like chocolate ice cream?" is an interrogative.

One meaning of "index" is an alphabetical list of names, subjects, etc., together with page numbers where they can be found--usually placed at the end of a book.
In this book, the index says there is information about the moon on pages 31 and 73.

Education; teaching; lessons or a list of steps to be followed to complete an assignment.
(1) Every teacher at Rio Vista gives instructions to their students. (2) It is hard to use a TV remote without reading the instructions.

main characteristics
The most important things that identify a person, plant, object--or anything in the universe.
The main characteristics of most cars are four wheels, a body where the driver and passengers sit, a steering wheel, an engine, and headlights and taillights.

Books and stories which only include real people, animals, plants, science, events, etc.
A book about birds in Tucson is a nonfiction book.

main idea
The main idea of a passage or reading is the the most important thought or message. (In contrast to the term topic, which refers to the subject under discussion.)
The main idea of Mr. Taylor's instructions is that it is important to follow directions.

multi-meaning words
Words which have more than one meaning.
Multi-meaning words will have the different meanings listed and numbered (1, 2, 3, etc.) in the dictionary.

A person's belief based on what seems true, or probable; a person's judgment.
Many people have the opinion that French cooking is the best in the world.

A group of persons organized for some specific purpose, such as a club, business, team, etc.
The Rio Vista band is an organization of students with an interest in music.

personal narrative
A story that tells a story based on a personal experience of the writer.
Jasmine wrote a personal narrative about a trip to visit her grandmother.

More than one of something.
The plural of bone is bones.

The arrangement of the main events in a book, story, poem, or film, also known as the "story line."
The plot of most mysteries starts with a murder.

point of view
A way of viewing things; an attitude or the position from which something is observed or considered; a standpoint.
It is Mr. Taylor's point of view that students must be held responsible for completing their work.

The form of a word that shows ownership.
The possessive form of John is John's. For example, to say John owns the airplane, you would say "It is John's airplane."

In a sentence, the verb (action word) or the verb and words that describe the verb.
"Runs fast" is the predicate in the sentence "Magaly runs fast."

prefix is placed at the beginning of a word to change its meaning.
In the word "unhappy," "un-" is the prefix.

Prefixes are placed at the beginning of words to change their meanings.
The prefixes we will see often are "pre-" (before), "post-" (after), "un-" (opposite of), "anti-"(against), "hemi-" (half), "non-" (absence of), "out-" (exceeding), "trans-" (across), etc.
The sentence "John was unhappy in preschool" has two prefixes.

punctuation (commas)
Special marks in sentences or phrases that make the sentences or phrases easier to understand. Some common punctuation marks are: .  ,  '  ;  ?  !
The comma ( , ) tells where to pause or take a breath.
root word
A word that can start to build the meaning of many words.
"Corn" is the root word of : popcorn; cornflower; cornmeal; cornbread; and cornmeal: all the words mean something about corn.

run-on sentence
run-on sentence is a sentence in which two or more independent clauses (i.e., complete sentences) are joined without appropriate punctuation ( ; ) or a conjunction (and, for, nor, but, or, yet and so).
"Sydney and Sabrina were in the band Sydney played the saxophone Sabrina played percussion" is an example of  three run-on sentences.

The introduction is at the beginning of a story and it tells you what the main idea(s) will be; it lets you
"meet" the main idea.
An introduction to your teacher lets you meet.

In grammar, the form of a word that says there is only one of something.
In the sentence "There was only one Juliana in the class, but there were two Gabriels," Juliana is singular and Gabriels is plural.

The word "sign" has many meanings. Among them are: to write your name (signature); a symbol with a specific meaning ( $ meaning dollars); and hand gestures that give information (sign language).
When you vote in any election, you have to sign your name.
story elements (character, setting, plot)
The who, what, where and why--the parts that make up a story.
In Harry Potter, the main characters are Harry, Hermione, and Ron; the setting is Castle Hogwarts; and the plot is to learn to be wizards and keep Harry safe from Voldemort.

The way things are planned to happen in our lives, schools, or work.
Sometimes Mr. Taylor's class schedules a trip to the gem and mineral show in February.

The person, place or thing that does the action in a sentence.
In the sentence "Michael finished his report before lunch," "Michael" is the subject, and "finished" is the action (verb).

Letters or syllables added to the end of a word to change its meaning.
Suffixes such as "-ish" and "-er" can be added to the word "small" to change its meaning to smallish and smaller.

To state briefly; to shorten to its most important parts.
Mr. Taylor asked us to summarize the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcer's Stone.

supporting details
They come after the topic sentence, making up the body of a paragraph. What do they do? They give details to develop and help the reader better understand the topic sentence (main idea).
If your topic sentence is "Harry Potter has a special wand," you could add supporting details about the wand, such as where he got it, what it's made of, and why it's a special wand.

Different words that have the same meaning.
Synonyms of "bend" are curve and twist.

verb (types and functions)
A word that in a sentence that  tells you the action (bring, read, walk, run, learn), or a state of being (be, exist, stand).
In the sentence "Anthony ran his race and is now standing next to the track," "ran" (the action) and "standing" (state of being) are both verbs.

Fourth Grade

A word that is made by putting together parts of other words.
The word "radar" is an acronym that was built from "radio detecting and ranging"
( "ra  + d  +  a  +  r" ).

A word or phrase that  modifies (describes) a noun .
The word "brilliant" is an adjective in the sentence "Yatzari is a brilliant student".  "Brilliant" describes the noun "student".

A word that Modifies (describes) a verb.
"Suddenly" is an adverb in the sentence "Anthony suddenly remembered his homework assignment".  "Suddenly" describes the verb "remembered."

A book that gives useful information about a particular subject;  sometimes published  in a month-by-month order.
For example, a gardening almanac might tell when to plant different flowers and vegetables.

A phrase or sentence that shows how different things may be alike in some ways.
"A human heart is like a pump" is an analogy.  The heart and pump are alike in one way:  they each pump something.

A book that is a collection of different writers' works (essays, stories,  poems, etc.).
"Mr. Taylor had so many interesting stories to tell.  One day he was going to publish his collection as 'An Artist's Anthology.' "

A word that has an opposite meaning.
An antonym of  "hot"  is  "cold";  an antonym of  "fast"  is  "slow".

A short, clear, wise statement that tells an opinion or a saying that many people believe is true.
An aphorism about a famous musician is the sentence "Irving Berlin has no place in American music - he IS American music."
audience (as listeners and readers)
A group of people that gather to see or hear a performance  -  when the performance is an "out-loud" reading, the performers are the readers and the audience are the listeners.
For example:  "Mr. Taylor and Maria were taking turns reading 'The Chamber of Secrets' to the class.  The audience was very quiet as the readers reached a scary part of the story."

author's purpose
The reason for writing  - to inform, to question, to entertain.
"Fernando worked hard on his first prompt.  His author's purpose was to entertain his readers with his funny story."

The story of someone's life, written by that person.
"Mr. Taylor had given the students their first assignment of the year:  a one-page autobiography."

A list of the books and materials consulted;  appearing at the end of the text. 
"Leslie was sure to include her bibliography at the end of her science report."

A booklet or pamphlet that describes a subject; often an advertisement.
"Mrs. Kuhn carefully read the brochure that announced the opening of the  University Science Fair."

A short description or title of an illustration in a text.
"Gloria had written the caption  ' What I Want to be When I Grow Up ' under her drawing of a jet pilot ."

A set of things that are grouped together because they have something in common.
"Eric had lots of homework to do.  Which category would he start with?  Reading, Writing, Science, Math ...? "

cause/effect characteristics
Cause is the action that makes something happen;  Effect is the something that happens.
"Sarah knocked over a glass of water onto her homework pages.  Knocking over the glass was thecause of soaking her homework.  Wet homework was the effect  of knocking over the glass."
The part that brings something to an end  OR
a decision that is made after looking at all the facts.
"Andrew thought the conclusion of ‘Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets‘ was really exciting!"
"After much thought, Anthony came to the conclusion that  the answer to  the long division problem  was '286'  "
A connecting word that links sentences or words ("and",  "or",  "if",  "but" ...).
"David and Jose wanted to talk to Gage or Sam before school, but the bus was late."
Conjunctions in this sentence were "and",  "or",  and "but".

An organized test among entrants to find out which is best at doing something.
"On Tuesday there was a contest between the two fourth grades to see which class was best at playing cricket."

A  talk with someone.
"Mrs. Kuhn would have a conversation with the "Wheels in Motion" people to learn whether their contest would come to Rio Vista this year."

A book of a person's daily happenings and thoughts.
"George Washington's diary was full of interesting things that happened before the United States became a nation."

double negatives
 Using two negative forms together in a phrase or sentence;  not good English.

"I won't never use double negatives when I write a story!"

Works written for performance on stage, television, or radio;  usually serious subjects and manner of performance.  Sometimes anything that is not a comedy is called a drama.
The book “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” was dramatized into a movie.

drawing conclusions
Reaching a conclusion, or a final decision, about something. 
"After Mr. Taylor sees the results of the test, he will be drawing conclusions on  on the next homework assignment."

A reference book or set of books giving much information on all areas or specialized areas of knowledge.
"Jade, did you find 'Mount St. Helens' in the encyclopedia?"

A make-believe short story that teaches a moral, especially with animals as characters.
 In the fable “The Tales of Peter Rabbit“, a young rabbit has adventures and learns about the world.

A category of artistic works, based on form, style or subject matter.
For example, a detective novel is a genre of fiction.

index....Copied from 3rd and 5th

A word (or group of words) that names a person, place, or thing.
The sentence "Ellie quickly gathered up her books to fill her backpack ,"
contains three nouns.

making inferences
Reaching a conclusion or decision from facts and reasoning.
"Hector and Alexis were making inferences on the cost of their field trip by adding up their lunch expenses."

metaphor...Copied from 3rd and 5th

myth...Copied from 3rd and 5th

A rough plan of a written work or speech; a list of main points or features to be covered.
"Mr. Taylor's drew an outline of his chapter on the smart board."

possessive nouns
Persons, places, or things that show ownership.
In the sentence "Sally’s car is with yellow stripes,"  the possessive noun is  "Sally's" .

A relation or function word  that connects a noun or pronoun to another part of a sentence ( "in", "by", "for", to", etc.).
In the sentence "Steven hit the ball and ran for first base,"  the word "for" is a preposition that joins "first base" to the rest of the sentence.
A word that may be substituted for a noun ("I", "you", "them", "who", "ours", "he", "she", "anybody", etc.).
"Adriana has been working hard on long division, and it has been worth the effort because shescored high on her math test!"  The three pronouns in this sentence are "it",  "she",  and "her".

To check written work for errors and mark the changes to be made.
"Pedro just needed to proofread and correct his 'Read and Response' chapter, and he would be finished."

sentence fragment
Words that do not form a complete sentence of subject and verb.
"Mr. Taylor for the first time." is a sentence fragment because it has no verb.

simple predicate
The verb or action word of a sentence or phrase, without words that modify the verb.
"Ran" is the simple predicate of the sentence "Monique expertly ran the cotton candy booth for the Rio Vista's Fantasy Fair."

A figure of speech that compares two different things (often with "as" or "like") .
"Red as a beet" is a simile in the sentence "Tim's face was red as a beet."

simple subject
The subject of the verb of a sentence, without words that modify the subject.
In the sentence "The shiny spotted horse frisked around the pasture," the word "horse" is thesimple subject.

A word that means the same, or almost the same, as another word.
The word "scholar"  is a synonym for "student".

tall tale
A story with characters or happenings that are exaggerated or made bigger than real life.
"Pecos Bill" is a tall tale of a cowboy who could  do unbelievable  things, like rope a tornado with his lariat.

thesaurus"...Copied from 3rd and 5th
title page (parts of)
A title page is a page at the beginning of a book that gives the book’s title, the author, and the publisher.
The title, “HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE”; the author, “J.K. ROWLING”; and the publisher, “Arthur A. Levine Books” all appear on the title page for the first Harry Potter book.

 verb tense
The form of a verb that shows not only the action, but when the action happens  (in the past, present, or future).
In the sentence “ Mr. Taylor’s class will leave for lunch in 15 minutes”, the verb tense is future;  In the sentence “The class is leaving now”, the verb tense is present In the sentence “The classleft,”  the verb tense is past.
More practice test coming soon!

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