It's only Thursday, though my mind has been trying to convince me that it's Friday.
We've been working hard this week, with rubrics and practicing written responses. First we discussed and (tried to) practice organizers, yesterday we worked on notetaking a little, just an intro, as well as short answers. Today we continued with more practice, and for the last class I added a sort of template. I used the sandwich analogy: a sandwich has bread on the top and on the bottom, and the good stuff in between. If you leave off one of the pieces of bread, things fall out. If there's nothing between the bread, that's not a sandwich. If you only have one ingredient between the bread, it's a very dull sandwich.
So just like the sandwich, you need topic and concluding sentences to border your response, and you need at least three tasty details in between, to make it nice and juicy.
For the passages, the students first did the work on their own, and then we discussed the correct, top-level answers. Then, I told them to look at their work and give it a grade according to our rubric. Most of the students got about half credit, on the THIRD DAY of working on this stuff in a row. And we've talked about and practiced this before this week, also. And they're all bombing everything, still, more!
It makes me want to pound my head into the freaking wall. Gah! Pay attention, for pete's sake! The only good thing is that they are not hesitant to grade their own work honestly, and I can only pray that they start actually paying that kind of attention BEFORE they start writing. I will make them continue practicing tomorrow (the dreaded extended response--double yuck) and all of next week. Maybe with practice, with different passages each time, they'll get used to it and start doing better.
Ack. This is the time when I start saying, there's only so much *I* can do. They're the ones who have to pick up the pencil and take the actual test for a grade.
Tired, tired, bored, blah blah blah. One week, people.