Not Everything Is Fun…


grumbleThere are some things that happen each day that are not 100% fun and entertaining. One area of this is test prep for ISTEP +. The plan is to take 4 short skill assessments each week – Monday through Thursday. These (very) short assessments are designed to review all of the skills that will be covered on the test. After each day’s assessment is completed it is graded and then reviewed the next day so that student’s can see what areas they might need to concentrate on. The daily assessments cover many genres and areas of evaluation. There is fiction, nonfiction, informational test, poetry, manuals, speeches, announcements, etc. They also cover all of the daily language conventions needed: capitalization, punctuation, usage, sentence construction, phrases, infinitives, participles, sentence combining, sequence, proofreading, and parallelism. This list is quite extensive, but necessary. We are, like college basketball, final fourdown to the Final Four; four more weeks to get ready Today there was some dissention among the ranks. This is understandable, but regardless we will soldier on. When the ISTEP+ results come back I am positive all of the grumbling Englishwill turn into cheers of success and chants of “English is fun!” (oh how a teacher can dream)

Today was also library day and before the year is over everyone needs to know the process of how to pick a “just right” book for their independent reading. Even though some of you have your lexile levels that isn’t always helpful when faced with choosing a book that is challenging, yet enjoyable. Looking only at the reading level is also not reliable in most cases. Most books are written at a very low reading level but a high interest level. This makes them fun to read but doesn’t challenge the reader or strengthen their skills. Here is a very simple way, the Five Finger Rule, to pick a book that is “just right” for you.

book pick

How to Choose “Just Right” Books

1. Look at the cover.

2. Read the title and the author.

3. Read the blurb in the back.

4. Flip through the book.

5. Read the first page.

6. Use the 5 Finger Rule. Hold up a finger or identify every time there is a word you don’t know.

0-2 Fingers—Too Easy

3 – 5 Fingers—Just Right

6 and above – Fingers—Too Hard

You should always choose a book that is in the “Just Right” section which will increase your reading level while still being able to understand what is being read.

AGENDA, April 4, 2013:

  • IDOE (Indiana Dept. of Education) Assessment Standard 8.2.1 – Informational Text, Manuals
  • Review Lesson 4, 12 Skill Assessment – Poetry/Figurative Language
  • Identifying Figurative Language – discuss group answers identifying-figurative-language-1
  • I Can Find It, Figurative Language Figurative Language I Can Find It


  1. Blog Topic:  How does using correct capitalization and punctuation affect your writing (and really your reading, too)? How are your abilities judged by the way you use these two skills effectively?

*** This is due by the beginning of class tomorrow.

It seems as though everyone is back to being the perfect angels I know all of you to be. Thanks for always making my day so great!


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