BRIDGES Literacy Project

Grades 5 and 8:  Language Mechanics
Online Practice Activities/Assessments 

Over the past few months, many districts have requested resources for teaching language mechanics.  Teachers whose classes reached the 100th percentile as a result of our BRIDGES trainings “back in the day” have been especially diligent in requesting updated training for teaching language mechanics. Teachers who have seen drafts of the materials and resources have been delighted!

When grammar was part of accountability (grades 4th and 6th), so many schools were able to document spectacular successes!  In many cases, that exceptional language mechanics score made the school Proficient or Distinguished!  My inbox filled with wonderful thank-you e-mails from teachers, principals, and superintendents.  This year, I will be offering both training for teachers and online resources for students.

For the first time ever, the KVEC BRIDGES Literacy Project will be offering resources online.  For 5th and 8th grade students who will be taking language mechanics assessments, BRIDGES is providing practice activities/assessments covering every standard/concept in K-5 or K-8.  What we are offering to schools is not available anywhere else 

Grade 5 (over 50 total assessments, over 800 practice questions)
Grade 8 (over 60 total assessments, over 1,000 practice questions)
For a comprehensive list of assessments (concepts), please contact angela.hilterbrand@ashland.kyschools.us.

The BRIDGES K-5 project has over 800 questions and more than 50 assessments.  K-8 has over 1,000 questions and over 60 assessments.  You will find at least two assessments for every concept, and some have as many as four. 

Possible Sources of Funding

Because some districts want to use C.A.R.E.S. funding to purchase these resources, administrators had specifically asked for resources that could be used in an online environment; thus, all of these materials will be available only online.  If your district’s teachers participate in the workshops (information and dates coming soon), this online resource becomes job-embedded professional development, which opens another avenue for funding.

Why Schools With Online Curriculums Need These Activities/Assessments

If your district is using an online curriculum, teachers have probably already discovered that the grammar coverage is inadequate.  More than a hundred teachers (implementing nine different curriculums) have already shared concerns about the poor quality of language mechanics instruction available through online curriculums.    

  1. Online curriculums are not aligned with Kentucky’s Academic Standards;
  2. Language mechanics concepts, when included, are embedded in reading units, and it’s difficult to assess what students know if only one question is asked about a specific skill or rule. With the assessments provided in the Language Mechanics Projects, students will be answering 10-25 questions on a particular concept, for example, verb tense.  Teachers will be able to immediately assess students’ level of mastery.
  3. The instructional portion of the online curriculum is not sufficient or appropriate for preparing students to take high accountability assessments. The BRIDGES online practice activities/assessments will prove invaluable to teachers as they work to identify what students already know and what they need to learn. 

In addition to the online resources, KVEC Bridges will be offering online (and possibly in-person) trainings for teachers during the fall semester.  More information about that project will be coming in the following days.  Easily modified language mechanics mini-lessons designed for 15-20 minutes will be provided.  Teachers in nearly every school—even those with online learning curriculums—will be doing some “live” instruction.  Language mechanics will require actual instruction.  Because language mechanics has not been assessed in several years, few teachers have been teaching the content in systematic, effective ways.  This year, accountability grade teachers will probably need to be teaching multiple years of language standards. 

     4. Several teachers, (more than I want to admit), have found that grammar lessons provided through several online learning curriculums contain grammatical errors.

BRIDGES Literacy Project
Grade 5:  Language Mechanics
Online Practice Activities/Assessments

What Schools Will Receive

___  access to more than 50 online practice activities/assessments (over 800 questions), covering all Kentucky Academic Standards K-5; at 5th grade, students will be assessed on K-5 standards

___  a comprehensive diagnostic test covering K-5 language mechanics standards

___  quizzes/assessments that can be completed in 15 minutes; no quiz should require more than 20 minutes; if you have students who don’t have reliable online access at home, taking a quiz at a hotspot should not be a    problem.

___  at least two assessments for every standard/skill; some concepts have more. Assessments could be used in a variety of ways.  The first one could be used for whole group instruction; the second for individual assessments.  The first could be a formative assessment; the second could be summative.  The possibilities are many . . . .

___  IDs and passwords for individual student accounts

___  instructor access to the website, so teachers can track students’ progress

___  Students may repeat assessments as many times as teachers choose.

___  test format that reflects Kentucky’s new language mechanics’ assessments. Each test has a passage followed by question choices.  Question stems were pulled from examples from Kentucky’s online practice tests.

___  questions and passages were written by Angela Hilterbrand, Director, Bridges Literacy Project; materials proofread and field-tested by Kentucky teachers and students

BRIDGES Literacy Project
Grade 8:  Language Mechanics
Online Practice Activities/Assessments
What Schools Will Receive

___  access to more than 60 online practice activities/assessments (over 1,000 questions), covering all Kentucky Academic Standards K-8; at 8th grade, students will be assessed on K-8 standards

___  a comprehensive diagnostic test covering K-5 language mechanics standards

___  quizzes/assessments that can be completed in 15 minutes; no quiz should require more than 20 minutes; if you have students who don’t have reliable online access at home, taking a quiz at a hotspot should not be a    problem.

___  at least two assessments for every standard/skill; some concepts have more. Assessments could be used in a variety of ways. The first one could be used for whole group instruction; the second for individual assessments.  The first could be a formative assessment; the second could be summative.  The possibilities are many . . . .

___  IDs and passwords for individual student accounts

___  instructor access to the website, so teachers can track students’ progress

___  Students may repeat assessments as many times as teachers choose.

___  test format that reflects Kentucky’s new language mechanics’ assessments. Each test has a passage followed by question choices.  Question stems were pulled from examples from Kentucky’s online practice tests.

___  questions and passages were written by Angela Hilterbrand, Director, Bridges Literacy Project; materials proofread and field-tested by Kentucky teachers and students

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