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Unit 1:  Meet the SAT

Day 1:    Intro / Needed SAT Skills  (Monday, August 28, 2017)

  1. Ms. Price discussed a brain-shift needed when approaching the SAT.  Students need to see it NOT as a hurdle to overcome, but rather as an opportunity to showcase skills learned.  (Some skills will allow students to better jump the SAT hurdle...others will allow them to lower the SAT hurdle.) 

  2. Students did an actitivity in which they named skills (on sticky notes) that they feel they will need to succeed on the SAT.  Students then (in groups) categoriezed those skills and "shared out" with the class. 

  3. Students completed a multiple choice quiz about Ms. Price's life (for fun/prizes).

  4. Homework:  None

Day 2:  Why Test?  What Should be Tested?  (Tuesday, August 29, 2017)

  1. Picked up at door:  Unit 1 Schedule

  2. Ms. Price introduced "Daily Grammar Concepts".  (Ms. Price will daily introduce a grammar concept that is assesssed on the SAT.  Students must take notes in their Daily Grammar packets.  These packets will become useful when "studying" for the SAT prior to the test date.)

  3. Today's Grammar Concept:   Parallel Structure (watch video & take notes)

    1. Parallelism Example on the SAT (easy)

    2. Parallelism Example on the SAT (harder)

  4. Reviewed skills discussed from last class, and Ms. Price added additional important skills needed (that she and Mrs. Okasinski identified while developing course, and after assessing last year's SAT data).

  5. Activity:  From then 'til Now  (Students observed the lack of change in classrooms/education throughout the 20th century, then discussed the vast changes in our world in the 20th century.  Discussed discrepencies.)

  6. Activity:  Alien Landing (Students were asked to consider what aliens, who have no understanding of what the function of American education is, may assume if they observed classrooms today.)

  7. Watched short clip from a talk by Sir Ken Robinson (9:27-12:02) regarding education's purpose.  Discussed.

  8. Discussed the following question in groups:  Considering the changes to our world, do you feel that it's useful to memorize information for a test?  (If so, what?  If not, why not?)  If not, WHAT is more beneficial to test?

  9. Discussed WHY the SAT has changed and what it seeks to test  (thinking skills, college readiness, etc.)

  10. Discussed what the SAT doesn't measure.  (intelligence, depth/breadth of High School learning, college success, etc.)

  11. Discussed what the SAT really measures:  How well you take the SAT.  (Which is why we've developed a class and will teach you the skills needed to do well on the SAT!)  :)

  12. Ms.  Price showed students how the test is organized, and passed out class folders along with syllabus and packets of information about how each section of the SAT is structured.  (If absent, see Ms. Price for this folder/packet.)

  13. Homework:  None

Day 3:  Learning to "Beat the House"   (Wednesday, August 30, 2017)

  1. Picked up at door:  "Mistakes I'll Never Make Again" & Class Practice handout

  2. Ms. Price introduced "Mistakes I'll Never Make Again" (i.e. Common grammar mistakes that this class will seek to teach and review in a way that you'll never make these mistakes again!)

  3. Today's Common Mistake:  its or it's

    1. it's is ALWAYS it is or it has  (if you can substititue those words in the sentence,  you get to use an apostrophe)

    2. EVERY OTHER TIME = its (even if it's possessive)

  4. Today's Grammar Concept:  Pronoun Antecedent Agreement (watch video & take notes)

    1. Pronoun Agreement example on SAT (easy)

    2. Pronoun Agreement example on SAT (harder)

  5. Ms. Price reminded students that the people who write the SAT are professional test writers [not teachers or college professors] and that, with some practice, it's possible to beat them at their own game!   (Discussed how we have to stop trying to think about questions and answers as our teachers taught us to do, and instead approach questions and answers as SAT writers do.)   Watched a movie clip to remind us of this point.

  6. Ms. Price introduced/discussed test-taking tips (from Princeton Review manual - pgs 12-14) for approaching the SAT:

    1. POE = Process of Elimination (you don't have to KNOW the right just have to identify it!)

    2. LOTD = Letter of the Day (when you can't eliminate ANY choices, always choose your LOTD)

    3. Pace Yourself (focus on quality over quantity)

    4. POOD = Personal Order of Difficulty (after learning types of questions develop a personal plan of approach based on your own POOD)

  7. Students completed a "Class Practice" (10 SAT questions)

  8. Homework:  None

Day 4:  8 Key Changes to the SAT   (Thursday, August 31, 2017)

  1. Picked up at door:  

    1. Handout:  8 key changes to the SAT​

    2. Class Practice Handout

  2. Today's Grammar Concept:  Subject-Verb Agreement (watch video & take notes)

    • Questions to remember to ask yourself with S-V Agreement questions:​

      • Who or what is this sentence about?​ = SUBJECT (underline)

      • What is the action of the subject? = VERB (double-underline)

  3. Did 5 practice SAT questions with S-V Agreement

  4. Today's Learning Goal:  To understand the 8 key changes to the SAT and how they impact you as a learner and tester.

  5. Ms. Price introduced the concept of "baby-birding" and how students must resist the temptation to expect it because the SAT demands strong independent thinking processes.

  6. Learned about the 8 key changes to the SAT.  (While taking notes on each, Ms. Price gave practical tips on how to best THINK while taking notes, and how to best survive note-taking in college.)

  7. Took a practice SAT Grammar Quiz on the following Grammar Concepts covered so far in class:  S-V Agreement, Parallelism, Pronoun Agreement (training wheels still on!) ;)

  8. Homework:  None

Day 5:   Reviewing/Assessing Grammar Skills   (Tuesday, September 5, 2017)

  1. Reviewed 8 key changes to the SAT (using graphics shown during notes)

  2. Today's Common Mistake:  there, they're or their?

    • they're is ALWAYS "they are"  (if you can substititue those words in the sentence,  you get to use an apostrophe)

    • their is a possessive pronoun (a group of people own something)

    • there as in "here or there" has the word HERE in it!  (This kind of there is also used in cases of "There once was a...")

  3. Today's Grammar Concept:  Within-sentence punctuation (commas & semicolons)

    • What you need to know:​

      • Independent Clause = a clause that can stand alone (has a subject & verb)​

      • Conjunction = connecting words such as "and", "but", "or", "nor", "so", "yet". (watch video linked)

      • Rule #1:  Use a comma between 2 long independent clauses when conjunctions connect them.  (Example:  I have painted the entire house, but she is still working on sanding the floors.)

      • Rule #2:  If the clauses are short, you may omit the comma.  (Example:  I painted and he sanded.)

      • Rule #3:  If you have only one clause (one subject/verb pair), you won't usually need a comma before the conjunction.  (Example:  I have painted the house but still need to sand the floors.)

      • Rule #4:  Use a semicolon if you have 2 independent clauses connected WITHOUT a conjunction.  (Example:  I have painted the house; I still need to sand the floors.)

  4. Did 5 practice questions as a class for today's grammar concept.

  5. Took a 10-question quiz (independently) on all the grammar concepts we've covered so far in class. (Students scanned quiz to immediately learn their scores.)

  6. Homework:  None

Day 6:   8 Key Changes to the SAT   (Wednesday, September 6, 2017)

  1. Reviewed questions that were most frequently answered incorrectly from yesterday's quiz and discussed why.

  2. Today's Grammar Concept #1:  Within-sentence punctuation (semicolons)

    • Rule #1:  Semicolons connect clauses that are RELATED in some way.

    • Rule #2:  Semicolons are NEVER before conjunctions! (and, but, or, nor, so, yet)  That's a comma's job.

    • Rule #3:  Semicolons can be used in long list-llike sentences that already have lots of commas (can help clarify a confusing sentence by breaking up ideas)  (Example:  Semicolons:  At first, they may seem frightening; then, they become enlightening; finally you'll find yourself falling for these delightful punctuation marks.

  3. Today's Grammar Concept #2:  Within-sentence punctuation (colons)

    • Rule #1:  Colons can be placed ONLY after a complete sentence. (MOST IMPORTANT RULE) They are used when you need to add information AFTER a sentence.

    • Rule #2:  Colons can be used to introduce LISTS, but NOT when introducing words/phrases like "such as" or "including" are present.  (Since they do the same job, it would be redundant to use both.)  

      • Example:  The archaeologists uncovered artifacts of great importance:  eating utensils, animal bones and a burial box.

    • Rule #3:  Colons can provide EMPHASIS for important ideas/phrases (This is because a colon provides a "complete stop" similar to a period, which emphasizes everything that comes after it.)

      • Example:  Hollywood action films are very predictable:  chase scenes separated by love scenes.​

  4. Did 5 practice questions as a class for today's grammar concepts.

  5. Today's Learning Goal:  To explore how the SAT is scored, learn what scores mean, and set a personal goal score.

  6. Discussed what Ms. Price calls the "American Idol effect".  (i.e. We all think we're good until we're seen compared to others.)  Also discussed the "Facebook effect"(i.e.  We get opinions about ourselves only from people with whom we surround ourselves.)  Discussed how both "effects" can skew our opinions of ourselves and of our true abilities and how standardized scores are an "equalizer" which force us to look at ourselves in comparison to the test and to others.

  7. Students filled out a Handout:  College / Career Plans (this handout was students' "ticket out the door")

  8. Homework:  None

Day 7:   8 Key Changes to the SAT   (Thursday, September 7, 2017

  1. Today's Grammar Concept:  Sentence Boundary Errors (watch video and take notes)

  2. Did 5 practice questions as a class for today's grammar concept.

  3. Went to computer lab to complete 2 tasks:

    1. Research the entry-level SAT score required for Admission to your top 3 colleges (on your handout).  (Also look for students' average score at that college.)

    2. When finished with finding your colleges' SAT score requirements, go to  (If you are not already registered, do so.)  Complete at least ONE 10-question quiz on a grammar concept we've already learned in class.

  4. Students turned in their College handouts before leaving the lab.

  5. Homework:  None

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