Put Thinking to the Test
Lori L. Conrad, Missy Matthews, Cheryl Zimmerman, Patrick A. Allen
How can teachers use the comprehension strategies put forward in books like Strategies That Work and Mosaic of Thought to help students become not just better readers and thinkers but also better test takers? The four authors of Put Thinking to the Test have spent years pursuing that question and have developed a groundbreaking approach, as their colleague Ellin Keene writes in the foreword to the book: I knew that Lori, Patrick, Cheryl and Missy met frequently to discuss professional issues and that they were working on a book related to testing. I had no idea, however, that their proposal would be so fresh, so original and, simultaneously, so sensible and immediately useful.Just as comprehension strategies have helped millions of students learn to read like proficient readers, they can also help students think like effective test-takers. The authors show how students can use background knowledge, mental images, synthesizing, monitoring, inferring, questioning, and determining of importance to understand the genre of tests and to think through the problems they are given. Instead of engaging in artificial and disconnected activities to cram for upcoming tests, students learn skills and strategies that will serve them throughout their school careers and beyond.Presenting numerous classroom vignettes featuring students in grades 3–8, Put Thinking to the Test includes:examples of the direct application of thinking strategy instruction to test taking;actual work samples from lessons used with students;additional lesson ideas that go beyond the teaching described in the vignettes;detailed anchor charts;background on how the authors came to understand this work so that a staff, team, or individual teacher can apply these concepts in their own school setting.
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