Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Open ended prompt for student literacy

For my student literacy project my co-operating teacher and I choose to have our students complete an AXES paragraph on an open ended prompt. Our thought process was that we wanted to blend our student literacy survey with the regular curriculum so as not to raise questions. We wanted a true assessment of our students literacy skills within the scope of social science. Our open ended prompt was "How did the evolution of man contribute to the development of civilization?" To the left is our break down of AXES but the basic idea of an AXES paragraph is this. AXES is an acronym for Assertion, eXample, Explanation, and Significance. Our students Assertion must be clear they can't use I believe, I think, I feel they must tell us what they know to be true for example "fire contributed to the development of civilization."  The next is an eXample. our students must provide us with an example that backs up there assertion. again, an example of this would be "Fire was used to cook food". The next is Explanation. Our students must explain how the example actually supports the assertion. An example would be "Fire was used to cook meat. Cooking meat meant that food could be stored and eaten allowing early civilizations to settle." And the last is Significance. Our students must tell us why there assertion is so important. An example would be "Fire is significant because it allowed early civilizations to make food, allowing civilizations to settle down then they could sustain a bigger populations as they could store food."

Once our students had finished my co-operating teacher and I used the Rubric to the left to grade each students responses. After we had graded them separately, we reconvened and discussed why we had graded each student the way we had.What we discovered was that our students were not able to assert themselves very well. Most of our student left out the topics they were going to talk about in there assertion. Furthermore, when we continued down the paper we discovered that the AXES were all mixed up. Our students had used most of the AXES pieces, however they did not follow the correct order. Our students would make an assertion after there examples, they would switch around there significance with there explanations. It was a nightmare to grade because just as you were finishing up one assertion, the other one popped up with no warning.  


Pat Stall said...

Hi Tony,

Quick question: Do all parts of the AXES really have to be in a certain order? Might there be times when "out of order" works? ....just wondering.

Anthony Atwood said...

Hi Pat,

Good question. From what I understand AXES have to be in order. The method behind the madness is that these students are preparing for the AP Exam at the end of the year or if they choose to advance to AP next year, so writing structured paragraphs is vital for there understanding, but you make a good point. Maybe examining each piece out of order or even one at a time might be a better option for the students as they would be able to chunk the assignment and chew on each piece as they complete the tasks, then an assessment might be writing the AXES paragraphs in order to demonstrate comprehension of the assignment.

Anthony Atwood said...
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