Preparing for the NJ ASK

So, here we go…the NJ ASK is two weeks away and we’ve been preparing for it as a genre study in test taking strategies.  This year, I incorporated the new Common Core standards, looking across  sixth and seventh grade standards to make sure my kids were grounded in what they needed to know, while stretching them (if they were ready) to take on the bigger challenges. 

    • W.6.1. Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
    • Introduce claim(s) and organize the reasons and evidence clearly.
    • Support claim(s) with clear reasons and relevant evidence, using credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.
    • Use words, phrases, and clauses to clarify the relationships among claim(s) and reasons.
    • Establish and maintain a formal style.
    • Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from the argument presented.

      • W.7.1. Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
      • Introduce claim(s), acknowledge alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.
      • Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, using accurate, credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.
      • Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), reasons, and evidence.
      • Establish and maintain a formal style.
      • Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.

     The main difference between the sixth and seventh grade standards was the introduction of the counter claim, so for those students who were comfortable with laying out three claims, we worked on the structure and framing of the counter claim.  The rest of the class stuck with learning how to form a claim, introduce it and support it with well written details….and do this three times, for each supporting paragraph.
         I walked through these anchor charts, and we’ve kept them up for reference as we practiced this week. 

…and we used this persuasive words list handout to ground our writing:
Persuasive Writing Words

I borrowed the “boxes and bullets” planning style suggested at the TC workshops I attended, and my kids have found this to be much more helpful in organizing their thinking than  the webs they used before.  Their thesis was in the box, followed by bulleted reasons – strongest one first.   As with anything else…practice and familiarity with the format takes time…and now that we feel we’ve got it, it’s time to shift to the explanatory and speculative prompts – oh, joy!

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3 thoughts on “Preparing for the NJ ASK

  1. I loved using charts and trying to figure out which type of structure would best work for different products. Webs I often found were not as helpful as billeted lists. And the list was easier to cut apart and restructure to make changes.

  2. I agree with Donna, for most students, the boxes were most helpful. Sometimes I even had them fold paper into boxes, one box for each argument. This is terrific learning Tara- not so joyful I guess, but it seems as if you are so deliberate in your teaching that the students should be very prepared. I love the list you shared & will pass it on! thanks!

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