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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Good practice test day

(Sorry in advance about the length of the blog today...but I have assessment information towards the bottom.)
We did not do the word bank, journal, music, or history lessons today. We only did the devotion, bible reading, math, English worksheets, and a North Carolina science EOG.
The devotion was about 19 May, 1780, when the New England region had an unusually dark morning. And the cause was unknown. The animals thought it was evening and did their evening routines. The roosters roosted and the cows walked back to their barns. During those darkness hours people hastily assembled church services. (Could you imagine that?) Three times in the bible there were conditions referred to as hours of darkness. Those were during creation, the ninth plague, and when just hung on the cross for us. The bible warns us not only to stay away from the “works of darkness” but to expose them. To do otherwise is to remain in the dark.
We read from the book of Exodus today. I was only going to read two chapters, but it was reading so much like a gripping-page-turner story that we continued through chapter 6. Chapter 4 was God showing the protesting Moses the miraculous signs that He would provide. (What didn’t God just reach down and thump Moses in the head for protesting so much?) Moses finally left God to ask Jethro if he could go find his family in Egypt. Jethro said, “Go in peace.” Moses’ wife circumcised their son on the way in order to spare Moses life. Aaron met Moses along the way and they met with the elder to say all that God told Moses. In chapter 5 Moses and Aaron met with the Pharaoh. The Pharaoh brushed them off saying, “You’re distracting my workers.” Then the Pharaoh gave the instructions to stop giving the workers straw for the bricks. The foremen were whipped for not making the quota. The foremen yelled at Moses and Aaron about this matter. Chapter 6 was when Moses and God having another conversation about freeing the Israelites and following through with His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to give them the land. Then there was a brief family tree of the clans of Israel. (Those names…tongue tied…)
We took a North Carolina science EOG today just in case there were science questions on the assessment. JD did so well on those 44 questions. I didn’t score it though. I only wanted him to be familiar with some terms so I read the questions and the multiple choice answers and he was able to answer most of them all by himself. I’m so happy he retained most of what he learned about: animals and plants, landforms, forces and motion, and weather from public school. I guess if the topic is interesting enough it will hold his attention enough to make it all the way to the memory bank. (Whew.)
Today JD finished his Math assessment. There were only 18 questions left. I only had to assist him on one question today. So he scored a 94% on the 18 questions from today, but the total score from yesterday and today was an 88% on a state assessment. (Whew…breathing…)
We did another three English worksheets today. JD learned about run-on sentences and fixing them by adding a conjunction (and, or, but) to make it a compound sentence. Then we started unit two of the English workbook which is literature and writing. It focused on writing a good beginning to a paragraph. (These are definitely English skills JD needs.) It also taught him how to supply details to dull sentences. This took a lot of prompting or suggesting by me to get him to create details. Example: The wind was howling. Our new sentence: The hurricane type wind was howling like a hound dog. The next skill taught was writing dialogue. That is adding the comma and quotations before someone say something. Then, punctuating the end of a sentence and tying the sentence up with quotations after the dialogue. The last skill learned was writing a good title. We did a lot of questions like - When is my family going to get here? The story given was about a person waiting for hours at a bus stop and worrying about someone needing to meet them. I love that I get to sit one-on-one with JD to teach him these English skills. Sadly, this is definitely his least favorite subject and his writing skills reflect that. Now at least I’ll know if he gets it or not. Whereas before didn’t have a firm grasp of exactly what English skills he was lacking in. Turns out…so far it’s everything we’ve learned about these past couple of days. (Ugh!) We have all summer to catch up to his current grade level.
Today I researched the type of assessment JD will take. I ordered the CAT/5 Complete Battery. This is a full-length test and gives the most comprehensive test results. It covers reading, language, vocabulary, spelling, math, science, and social studies. It is suppose to take approximately 5 ½ hours to complete. (Maybe longer for JD.) According to the testing company I ordered the test from, and the state of North Carolina, I am able to administer the test in my home and be the administrator.
Here’s a breakdown of each component of the test:
Reading - Five reading subtests include two pre-reading tests for Kindergarten, a Word Analysis test for Grades 1-3, and Vocabulary and Comprehension tests for Grades K-12.
Spelling - This subtest for Grades 2-12 assesses three broad areas of spelling skills: vowel sounds, consonant sounds, and structural units.
Language - The Language Mechanics and Language Expression subtests work together to measure a broad range of language and writing skills essential to full literacy. Test items measure the ability to apply standard usage and writing conventions and to develop effective sentences and paragraphs.
Mathematics - The Mathematics Computation and Mathematics Concepts and Applications subtests assess the ability to perform fundamental mathematics operations, apply mathematical concepts, and use a variety of problem-solving strategies.
Study Skills - This subtest for Grades 4-12 measures how well students can carry out independent study using information-processing skills that they can apply across subject areas.
Science - Science items sample knowledge of the natural world and assess inquiry skills. Objectives are carefully targeted to the grade and match common curriculum groups: animal and plant life, matter and energy, and Earth and space sciences.
Social Studies - The Social Studies subtest measures understanding of various disciplines needed for a comprehensive global perspective: geography, economics, history, government, citizenship, sociology, and anthropology.
**Dear God...Oh my…now I’m getting nervous…thinking: Should I have taught him this or that? What if he doesn‘t know “x” amount of questions in a row and just gives up trying? (breathing and “What if-ing" myself to death…) Signed, Conniption fit in Cameron.

I will receive the test results in about 4-6 weeks after I send them in. It will show scale scores, national percentiles, grade equivalents, STANINE (standard nine…) and other data.

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