Podcast On Your Plan episode 5 with Cindy Riedl

Cindy Riedl is an advocate for authentic writing instruction and objective assessments.

IMG_20150622_105117893_HDROn this episode, Cindy was gracious enough to share her successful formula for authentic writing instruction and objective assessment. She teaches 5th grade students, but her system is practical and beneficial for all middle and high school students. As an added bonus, Cindy shares some great ideas for keeping parents involved by creatively using DropBox and more!

“Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”

If you want to learn more from Cindy, contact her at Aweighwithwords@yahoo.com.



Four Square Template A
Four Square Template B








Student Sample A
Student Sample B
Student Sample C




PDOYP Live: The Write Ingredients

On January 5th, 2015 a live videoconference was conducted to discuss strategies and answer frequently asked questions about the state writing assessment. Due to unforeseen equipment failure, the 8th grade presentation was not recorded. In an effort to provide access to the information presented, the presenters are re-recording the presentation.

However, the 5th grade presentation was recorded and is available for viewing. Accompanying handouts are also available at the bottom of the page.


65 kB5th and 8th grade Writing Rubric one pager 163 kB2015 Writing Assessment onepager 2 MBWrite Ingredients handout for Grades 6-8 113 kBExpository Monster 300 kBRecipes for Evidence 2 MBArgument Recipe




Respond to the following reflection questions in the comment boxes below:

  1. Describe a recipe for reading you already use with great success.
  2. Describe a recipe for writing you already use with great success.
  3. Describe how you will utilize a strategy or resource shared during this module.

Elements of Narrative

Also available in YouTube format.

UPDATES: 2.13.15

38 kB4 SCORE Rubric 5th grade copy 38 kB4 SCORE Rubric 8th grade onepager

According to the passage “Grades 5/8 Writing Tests…” the 5th and 8th grade Writing Assessment will task students with responding using the Narrative mode of writing. The Office of Assessment has a practice prompt for 5th and 8th grade available. Please also take time to review the 5th grade rubric and 8th grade rubric (also see the above one-pager versions) with students.

Additional practice prompts with passages can be found at Achieve The Core.org.

For your convenience, I have provided their 5th grade and 8th grade example practice prompt with a students’ sample response in the following download:

478 kBATC Grades 5 Narrative Prompt pack 457 kBATC Grades 8 Narrative Prompt pack

Also, CLICK HERE to check out the prompts created by Oklahoma 5th grade teacher, Trish Long.

Thank you, Ayn Grubb (Tulsa teacher) for sharing the links to the Tennessee Department of Education’s Practice Prompts!

  • TN Practice Prompts for 5th Grade
  • TN Practice Prompts for 8th Grade
  • TN Practice Prompts for 11th Grade

Also (again), a big thank you goes to Rhonda Harlow and Kristen Jones for sharing the prompts below:

217 kB5th-Grade-Writing-Prompt-R.-Harlow 243 kB5th-Grade-Writing-Prompt-2-R.-Harlow 215 kB8th-Grade-Writing-Prompt-1-R.-Harlow


This module was developed to (1) increase understanding of the expectations of the Narrative Mode for the 8th grade state Writing Assessment, (2) share instruction strategies for classroom use, and (3) connect with potential classroom resources.

After viewing the module, please provide answers to the reflection questions that follow in the comment boxes at the bottom of the web page:

  1. What strategy for teaching writing has been most successful for your students?
  2. Which narratives are taught in your school’s curriculum?
  3. What questions do you still have about the Narrative Mode as it pertains to the 8th grade state Writing Assessment?


The ABCs of DoK for ELA


  1. Increase understanding of shifts in future assessment items
  2. Align current classroom practices to academic standards shifts
  3. Review resources and tools to support alignment


Target Audience: 3-10 ELA Teachers
Session Descriptions: This course intends to increase understanding of assessment shifts and guide instructional practices for English language arts classes aligned to the new academic standards for grades 3-12. Participants will review sample assessment items, share supporting classroom strategies, and discuss alignment to the Oklahoma Academic Standards.

LINKS and Downloads


“We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience”

-John Dewey

[1] Quick Write 

Get into the right frame of mind by participating in this short opener. Set a 2 minute timer and write!

List the books, stories, articles, etc. students read as part of your classroom curriculum each year.

[2] What is DoK?

At this point, you’re probably thinking, “Oh, great. Another acronym. Shocking.” Hopefully, you’ll consider DoK a more pragmatic acronym by the end of this module. DoK stands for Depth of Knowledge and measures the cognitive expectations of an academic standard, lesson/activity, and/or assessment questions or tasks. Four levels of DoK are identified in the following table:

DoK Levels simplified
DoK Levels simplified

Before looking at the released assessment items and prototypes, we need to spend five minutes becoming experts on the first three levels of DoK. Assessments will correspond to one of the first three DoK levels. Your classroom activities and lessons may cross into DoK level 4.

Open your ABCs of DoK for ELA workbook and find the reading titled “Depth of Knowledge Questions.” It covers DoK levels 1, 2, and 3. In an ideal setup, you are going through this module with a small group. So, organize yourselves into teams of three; each member of the team will tackle one of the levels presented (i.e. one person will focus on just the DoK level 1 information while their partner focuses on level 2 and another partner will focus on level 3).

As you read, take notes on each of the following:

  • What is the Role of the Teacher?
  • What is the Role of the Student?
  • What classroom activities correspond to this DoK level?

You have five minutes to read and take notes. At the end of the five minutes, share your understanding with the group. As a group, compose a one-sentence summary for each level and post it in the comments section below.

[3] The ABCs

Now it’s time to apply your knowledge of DoK levels to assessment items! For this part, you will need to (1) work with teachers of your grade-level and (2) have copies of your grade level’s assessment items. There is a chart on the cover page of your workbook to keep track of the items you will analyze, but you may also want to create a larger chart on graph paper for the follow-up group assignment. Go ahead and list the number of assessment items assigned to you under the “Item #” heading.

Take Notes
Take Notes

 A is for Attribute

First, so as not to be influenced by the majority, review the items assigned to you and attribute a DoK level to each item. Your answer may look something like the following example:

Example 1
Example 1


B is for Base

Now, using your copy of the Oklahoma Academic Standards for ELA, base the question around an academic standard. Ask yourself, what is this question assessing? Your answer may look something like the following example:

Example 2
Example 2


C is for Consensus

Now the fun part! With your small group, share your analysis and come to a final consensus of the DoK levels and academic standard(s) addressed for each item.

[4] Closing Group Reflection

Review and respond to the following questions with your group. Please post your responses in the comment section below.

  1. What insights do you have after reviewing the DoK Levels in the Released Items and Sample items?
  2. What questions do you have after reviewing the DoK Levels in the Released Items and Sample items?
  3. How can this knowledge help guide or improve classroom instruction?

Opinion & Argumentative Writing Checklists

reac3h coaches



These checklists were designed using the OSDE Rubric. Students can use the checklists as part of the revising/editing process. Checklists can also be used for peer editing purposes.

A big thanks to our REAC3H Coaches, especially Kelli Anglley, for developing this resource!

65 kB5th Grade Opinion Writing Checklist 65 kB8th Grade Argumentative Writing Checklist

Suggestions? LIKES? Please leave a comment!