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Snow Daze

By Emmet Rosenfeld — February 18, 2007 3 min read
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The end of an unexpected 6-day weekend is approaching, and the snow and ice that closed school has also put a freeze on my ability to slog ahead on Entry One. Bored with boredom, this morning at last I forced myself to the keyboard to write about work samples I’ve selected for use in my final portfolio entry.

“Making Good Choices” is the slightly paternalistic title given to the section in the bible offering advice on which assignments to select. It’s true, though, that my dilly-dallying on this entry is because I found it hard to choose only two out of my hundred some students; and then to choose only four out of the dozens of assignments they’ve done. Even with all those choices, I’ve actually recycled some of the work mentioned in other entries, in part because I have all the documentation handy.

I described the required work samples last time I wrote. Below is a paragraph outline in which I’ve sign-posted profusely to keep the somewhat obscure requirements straight, both for me and my NBPTS readers. All that remains is to flesh each graph out to a page in length, using the guide questions provided at the end. Oh, and then collect and label up to 40 pages of documentation. Has anyone checked the long range forecast for more snow?

Analysis of Student Work (10 pp; 5 per student)

Student A as Reader
The first response for Student A as a reader is in writing to a nonprint-based text. The response itself is writing based on observation: one part “shows,” depicting the scene using subjective or impressionistic language; and the other part “tells,” depicting the same scene in a more objective or “scientific” way . The “text” being observed is the natural world, specifically, the wetland refuge which is the site for a year-long science project involving water quality testing that is the centerpiece of the 9th grade IBET program as previously described.

The second response for Student A as a reader is in a non-print mode to a print-based text. The response itself was a dramatization: the student played a role in a skit that presented a “mock trial” in response to Earnest Gaines’ novel about the execution of a black man in 1940s Louisiana called A Lesson Before Dying.

Student A as Writer
The first response for Student A as a writer is a creative take on a personal narrative written from the point of view of a bird.

The second response for Student A as a writer is a “Review of Research,” a technical writing drawing on scientific sources from specialized databases which examines a topic related to the water quality project.

Student B as Reader
The first response for Student B as a reader is in writing to a nonprint-based text. The response is an observational sketch and drawing that records her work on a Native American dugout canoe being built by our 10th grade class this year in conjunction with local historical groups as part of a special project this year to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Jamestown. The “text” under observation is of course the canoe itself, and the process of building it-- using traditional stone tools and “primitive” technology-- with her classmates.

The second response for Student B as a reader is in a non-print mode to a print-based text. The response is a 3-tiered fountain that was made to represent the structure of a novel by Native American author N. Scott Momaday recording the rise and fall of the Kiowa people, The Way to Rainy Mountain.

Student B as Writer
The first response for Student B as a writer is an essay in response to a prompt which is thematically related to our canoe project, “Life is a Journey.”

The second response for Student B as a writer is a personal narrative describing a special moment from her childhood when she went sledding with her cousin.

Guide Questions

Experiences, skills, interests, etc about the student that provide insight into his work samples and my analysis of them...

My instructional goals to promote growth for this student as a reader and interpreter of text were... I used these texts, assignments, and strategies to accomplish these...

These characteristics of the selected work samples demonstrated the students ability to understand and interpret the text...

My assessment and feedback to this student promoted his growth as a reader and interpreter of text by...

Given this student’s responses, as a teacher I will do this to build on what they have already accomplished as a reader/interpreter of text...

The opinions expressed in Certifiable? are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.


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