November 29, 2016

The "Talk"

It was a very important day today! 
We had a BIG talk.  I explained to the boys and girls that in late May, early June, along with all of the other Grade Three children in Ontario, we’ll complete a set of booklets that ask us to demonstrate what they've learned so far.  
The students understand that this is not a test, but a set of tasks that all children in Grade Three complete. It covers reading, writing and math. We don't really study for EQAO in the traditional sense because by learning the curriculum and learning to apply the skills, we will indeed be very well prepared when the writing days roll around. 
  
As a matter of fact, we've already been preparing for EQAO since the first days of school. Our Morning Message is a major player in this. Now that the kids know what's coming, we'll start to integrate the EQAO language and activities even more fully in our day-to-day routines so that come May/June, everyone will feel confident and well-prepared. 

In addition to our Morning Message, we have started preparing for EQAO since the first days of school by: 
  • learning how to write an effective letter
  • learning about the parts of speech, grammar, text features and other aspects of writing and language through our Poem of the Week and recently, Non-Fiction Article of the Week
  • learning how to answer Reading Response questions  
  • explaining our thinking in Math using the appropriate and related vocabulary
  • speaking and writing in complete sentences
  • solving higher level thinking problems in Math
Pretty soon we'll start focusing more on adding more evidence from the text to our answers, which is not only expected on EQAO, but an important skill to develop for future grades. 

I refer to EQAO not as a test, but as a set of booklets to be completed. I'd really appreciate your support with this messaging too.  This has proven to be very effective in minimizing anxiety for those students who are test-sensitive. An example of a phrase I'll use in class would be, "When completing your booklets, you'll want to make sure your printing looks smart and your work sounds smart."  

Today's talk was the first of many. The boys and girls had a lot of questions and we'll continue our discussion on Wednesday and beyond. I always feel relieved after this talk. I like to have it early on so that it takes away some of the stress and confusion my students might be experiencing, which is a win for everyone! 

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