Thirty-Six Stars (3rd Edition)


This program includes a compact writing portfolio for students in middle school, high school, and college. It addresses Common Core as well as PARCC level writing instruction. It provides the assessor with a clear, immediate, and objective means of visually assessing student progress through each successive prompt and response cycle. This approach saves valuable time and effort when filing individual student responses and/or retrieving them for comparative analysis and growth assessment.
Additionally, the format of the prompts offers a variety of writing response protocols to the student. The program also includes a hands-on guide that channels and directs each student’s writing efforts on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis. From planning sheet to conclusion, it provides a meaningful and pragmatic checklist for students as they attempt to formulate and record appropriate and logical responses to the individual prompts. The guide lists essential items that a complete, well-written paragraph must contain. If this guide is followed during that initial writing process, its role and value during subsequent use in the assessment process is all the more pragmatic. Students can actually and objectively predetermine their own scores. The only items remaining in question will be the subjective quality and innate substance of the content, not its structure nor its presence.
The use of the guide / assessment rubric makes the peer editing strategy infinitely viable as an assessment methodology, serving three essential functions. Through its first function, students are given an opportunity to learn to objectively scrutinize student work production other than their own. Students will also be able to compare and contrast their personal production with that of a peer. Again, they will be able to objectively assess the production of a peer’s efforts at following the identical guide that they themselves followed. Essentially, students will not only objectively assess, but also learn from their peers’ successes and opportunities to improve. As iron sharpens iron, students will be able to aid in fine-tuning the relative skills one of another.
The second essential function is seen in the satisfying of the requisite for immediate and accurate feedback to the students. This feedback becomes realistic and predictable. The offering of timely feedback is essential to the learning process itself. Much like an immediate consequence in a disciplinary scenario provides an impactful link between the indiscretion and the consequence, immediate feedback in an instructional scenario allows continuity in the learning process, as the acts of correction and instruction will be allowed to merge and flow in meaningful and fluid circuits.
The third essential function is this: the extraordinary burden of a single teacher having to painstakingly scrutinize and evaluate each student’s production will be alleviated, if not eliminated altogether. This tool affords the teacher the opportunity to utilize the hands and eyes of the resident class, without relying on their judgment or current level of personal skill. After the initial student assessments have been made and reviewed by the authors, the teacher has but to verify the accuracy and the efficacy of the process. Being able to accurately assess at a glance leaves the teacher relatively unencumbered. The teacher will now be able to promptly determine appropriate follow-up strategies and complementary instructions designed to further enhance and develop students’ writing skills based on observed and documented opportunities for improvement.
This text also contains integrated grammar exercises linked thematically with paragraph development exercises. These grammar exercises are short, to-the-point applications of grammar and mechanics use in the writing process.
The Professional Section contains information and tactics that will facilitate the best use of best practices in the classroom, featuring a strand-based approach that makes education the productive process that it must be in order to bring about superlative student achievement.
Finally, the appendices section contains instructive writing packets designed to aid students in developing higher level writing skills through the mastery of phrases. The packets employ a novel approach that fires the imagination of even the least colorful minded, showing and demonstrating how easy and how much fun creative writing as well as objective performance-response writing can be. Again, each exercise meets and addresses the requisites for Common Core and PARCC writing tasks!

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