Monday, March 12, 2012

Passing the Grade 4 ACTAAP

Archer wrote a personal narrative in his fifth grade literacy class.  He created an outline, did a rough draft, and then revised. For content, he needed an introduction paragraph, a beginning events paragraph, a middle events paragraph, an ending events paragraph, and a concluding paragraph; the narrative had to include character(s), setting, problem clearly stated, transition words, and solution clearly stated. The rubric for style scored him on an effective lead, specific nouns, hefty verbs, adjectives, adverbs, figurative language, descriptions appeal to the senses, dialogue, and an effective conclusion. 

The following personal narrative earned full points. I think you can clearly see how Archer adapts his own obsessions, the things he's interested in (like video games -- "Spin Off" is a Wii Party game) and the filters of quantification through which he experiences them, into a more standard format of storytelling with many of the external trappings of emotion and narrative arc. It's also interesting that he's the only character, putting himself in conversation and conflict not with another person, but with a test booklet and himself.

Passing the Grade 4 ACTAAP

It was the day of the first section of the ACTAAP Benchmark Test, Grade 4. I felt like my most stressful day ever. "This will DEFINITELY be a challenging test," I thought sadly, gulping. 
I was starting the Grade 4 Benchmark in Marguerite Vann Elementary on April 15, 2011, at 8:30 in the morning. First, I did a bunch of Math sections quickly, but then, there was the first writing prompt. It read, "Write about a toy that you had for a while." "What toy should I choose?" I thought, worried. After pondering that for a long time, I finally chose my mini-pinball table. I scored 19 out of 20 points. 
Soon enough, I faced a 2nd writing prompt that read, "Imagine you went to a castle that appeared overnight." I already knew the idea. I told proudly to myself, "This is going to be the easiest prompt ever!" I used "Spin-Off" castle with Takumi, Tatsuaki, and Lucia as my other characters. I would do a Spin-Off Battle against them and see who could bank up the most medals. I scored only 18 out of 20 points. 
Then the Benchmark ended. After 4 reading sections with topics easy to understand, there were no more Open-Responses to complete. I explained, "The rest of this test will be more like the Iowa test, which has no open-responses." To my surprise, I was finished as quick as a wink! 
At the end of the Benchmark, I was all exclamatory! I was also proud of myself. Have you ever faced a difficult test?

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