Monday, March 26, 2012

Happy STAAR Eve -- Tips for 7th Graders

If you're sitting for the 7th grade STAAR writing test tomorrow and Wednesday, here are some things to keep in mind:

Day 1 -- You'll see four revising and editing passages, each with a set of questions about possible changes for you to make. You'll also see one of the three essays -- this one will be either narrative or expository.

Day 2 -- You'll see the other two essays. Of the three essays, two will be of the same type (narrative or expository), and the third will be of the other type. You have four hours each day.

Last minute tips for you:

1. Read through the revising/editing passages quickly. Make a note of the verb tense out in the margin (present or past, generally). This will help you make decisions about verbs in the multiple choice questions, because the verb tense should not change.

2. As you're reading, highlight things that sound wrong. You don't have to fix them -- just mark them. This will help you in the questions, because you'll already have the right error in mind for many of the questions this way.

3. Use a dictionary to help you figure out word spellings. Even if you have to take the time to ask for a dictionary, it is worth not missing the question. Don't be lazy!

4. For the narrative essay, remember that it's personal -- write in first person. Even if you're writing about something that didn't happen to you, write as if it did. Also, remember to be believable. The reader doesn't know you, but if your story doesn't sound like it could have happened to someone by the 7th grade, you will suffer.

5. For the expository essay, pick a side of the argument in response to the quotation. If you want to do an "it depends" essay, you have to give examples supporting both sides. The evidence is what the readers will use to grade your work.

6. EDIT YOUR WORK! Spelling and grammar count this year more than they did with TAKS.


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