[BHS Etree] ADMIN: Constructed Response Update

BHS etree bhs at lists.lmi.net
Tue Mar 25 21:35:01 PDT 2014

PLEASE do not reply to this email, contact Tamara 
Friedmantamarafriedman at berkeley.net <mailto:tamarafriedman at berkeley.net>

Dear Parents, Guardians and Students,

This week we are administering the third Constructed Response writing 
task through the Science Department. We wanted to take this opportunity 
to revisit the theory of action behind this approach to developing 
student literacy skills.

We believe that by increasing the number of opportunities for our 
students to participate in formal writing activities in addition to 
direct and explicit language instruction, we will begin to see 
improvements in student writing across all content areas, on common 
assessments and on the CAHSEE. We think this type of instruction is 
important for all students, and that it will be particularly valuable 
for meeting the needs of our most struggling students

Focusing school-wide on the Constructed Response writing tasks has given 
us an opportunity to come together around a shared goal and common 
teaching strategies for close reading, annotation and argumentative 
writing. Over the course of the year we've seen examples of these 
strategies being put into action across the school, from Amy Burke's 
persuasive essay writing in IMP to the annotation of text in Susi 
Lopez's Spanish for Native Speakers class.  In one class I overheard a 
student ask, "oh, you want us to do a 'they say, I say" annotation?", as 
though it were standard operating procedure.

Additionally, having ALL of our staff trained in Constructing Meaning 
strategies means that we now have a common language to talk about the 
explicit instruction of language in all content areas. Constructing 
Meaning and Constructed Response are directly related as CM provides the 
instructional strategies, tools and techniques to ensure that our 
students get better at reading, writing, listening and speaking across 

We've learned some important lessons along the way that will help us 
make next year's Constructed Response more successful. In the future, we 
see the Constructed Response shifting to discipline specific writing, 
numeracy related tasks and a variety of modes/genres.

We have greatly appreciated the support from the BHS parent community. 
  For each of our Constructed Response assessments, parent volunteers 
have played an instrumental role in organizing and distributing our 

-- Dave Stevens, Glenn Wolkenfeld and Tamara Friedman

Tamara Friedman, NBCT

Berkeley High School Professional Development Co Coordinator

Long Term EL Coordinator

(510) 610-7795 <tel:%28510%29%20610-7795>

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