I am linking up again this month with Meg from The Teacher Studio. I am not sure if my post relates to a lesson or to a group of lesson that I teach across the year, but I thought this would be a good time to update my thinking about APEC. What is APEC you say? It is a "structure" I use to teach my students how to respond to open ended questions in math and language.
I am also linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for Made it Monday because it has been a LONG time since I have made something new that I wanted to share with my readers.
In Ontario, students write the EQAO assessments of mathematics and language in grades three and six. I have been a grade six teacher for the majority of my career and have been through many, many years of student testing. One thing I noticed over the years was that students did not come to me in sixth grade knowing how to answer open ended, extended response questions. Students find questions like this on the CASI reading assessments as well.
I started looking for ways to help increase student understanding of how to structure a good response. A "mentor" for responding to open ended, extended response questions. Students will find these types of questions in both language and mathematics. For example, from the 2013 EQAO reading test "Explain why the narrator states that “The only ice cube I want to see again is the one in my glass of juice.” Use specific details from the text to support your answer." and from the mathematics test "A store has 11.2 kg of potatoes. Maria buys 572 g of potatoes from the store and Colin buys 1.42 kg of potatoes from the store.
After these two purchases, how many grams of potatoes does the store have left? Show your work."
After I did a little in service a few years ago, many of the teachers in my school have started teaching APEC. Even though most of the students coming to me are familiar with this structure, I still spend time each year modelling how to use APEC as an effective method for responding to open ended, extended response questions (including problem solving in mathematics).
Recently someone on Facebook commented that they were marking EQAO and that the coordinators of the marking told them that the "connection" part some students were including was "irrelevant" and that student should NOT be taught to respond by making connections. I went on record stating that I did not agree with this stance. If you look at the reading curriculum in Ontario, you will see "making connections" is a HUGE part of the reading expectation 1.6 "extending understanding". I agree that students need to master how to "make inferences about text using stated and implied ideas from the text" but they also need to EXTEND their thinking, and this is what expectation 1.6 asks them to do. (click on the image below to see it in its entirety).
I model how to write effective responses all year long. Whether it is as descriptive feedback after students write CASI in the fall, or during literature response groups, I make sure that we look at how to "show what we know" by constructing strong responses.
I have written about how I use APEC in mathematics before. If you would like to read more about it you can view it at this post.
When I was reading the Facebook posts about using APE (or ACE, or APEC) I started looking for my APEC freebie I had posted a few years ago. I could NOT find it anywhere, so I decided to make some new cute posters for my classroom. If you have read my profile, you will know I am the proud owner of two beautiful Boston Terriers, so I included the adorable Boston Terrier clip art created by Scrappin Doodles on my new posters.
If you would like a copy of this FOREVER FREEBIE just click on the image below.
How do you teach students to improve their responses in math and language? I am always looking for fresh, new and effective ideas.