Thinking About Genre and Predictable Questions
My Test Talk unit is about reminding students all they already know about the elements of realistic fiction and teaching them ways that questions might be phrased that ask about these elements. It is also about helping students to see connections between genres, for example,reminding them to use all they know about story structures in fiction to identify important elements in fantasy. My work, then, will be to support students in reading passages and holding on to meaning, to review strategies students already know for each genre, to teach strategies to quickly identify genres, and to teach predictable question types for each. I organize my teaching around genres, teaching narrative structures, non-narrative (expository) structures, and poetry, coaching students to bring forward all they know, giving tips for identifying the genre, and teaching predictable questions for each genre.
I use these posters when we talk about previewing test passages. The first thing students know to do is to identify genre. This will give them an idea of what to pay attention to. For example, if a student identifies a test as realistic fiction, he/she knows to pay attention to character, theme, and setting. If a student identifies a text as informational, things like structure, main idea, and author's purpose are key.