This formative isn't lengthy. It's a pretty straight forward poem about the troubles that money can bring, but I'm sure some students won't think about the overall poem when determining the meaning. The two questions are scaffolded to start with finding the meaning and then to determine the theme. Hopefully, by looking for the meaning, they can use that knowledge to infer the theme. I want to know if my kids have mastered RL5.2 before we move on to comparing similar themes in two poems. If students struggle, I know I have to continue working on literal vs. figurative meanings before moving onto RL5.9.
Today you will read a poem and work to determine the meaning and theme. Please annotate the poem while reading and think about what the whole poem is telling you. Think back to our theme notes while inferring the theme. Answer your questions in complete responses and refer to the text when necessary.
While students are working, I move around the room to monitor until students start finishing up.
As students work on the formative, I try to use proximity to control any cheating. I also remind my students to annotate and/or highlight. My expectations for justifying responses are strict and my students know they cannot turn in work until they have proven where they've found information to support their answers. When working towards mastery of the CCSS, students need to be able to prove their thoughts in reading. It's also just great practice and lets us get into the students' minds. I like being able to see why they chose an answer. Generally, if my kids aren't justifying, it's because they don't know where to look to find the information. That is strong data for me. I can use that to make groups, to decide on workstations, adapt my RTI and so much more. Also, (and not my favorite reason) many of the tests coming out ask the students to highlight parts of the story where they have found the information to support a question. Since my kids have to take these tests, I want them to be prepared for what they will be asked to do. This also shows that the students are referring to the text and digging deeper.
I also use this time to check my students interactive notebooks. Sometimes I hold 1:1 conferences with students about the concepts included in their notebooks, the processing they have completed, and other work that might be included in the notebook. I just feel like there's never enough time in the day to help each student, so I take it wherever I can get it!
This formative was created during a learning community meeting with my team. It's sometimes hard to find the time to create these together with all of the other school-mandated topics that are added to our agenda, but this really is beneficial. It's nice to see how my kids are doing compared to the rest of the grade level, and I get the opportunity to ask for help if my students didn't do so well and other classes did. It's also great to just collaborate with a team. We can all pull texts, analyze the standards and out district unit maps, and come together to create something we think will work for our students. I'd like to take this one step further and have more student input on these assessments as well.
Again, students who finish up quickly will have time to meet with me to have 1:1 conferencing for reading. I use the time to check in on skills the students may still be struggling with in poetry. My students usually bring up their data binder (this includes all formatives and summatives for the year) and we chat about areas where they scored lower.
The other thing I like to do is preview topics when they finish their formative. My students will be moving in to comparing two poems with a similar theme, so they'll be working on this activity. I find that this helps to spark memories from years past, raise confidence in students who may be nervous about reading skills, and builds background for the students to be successful in my lessons.