Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT):FCAT Skills at Home The Florida Parental Information and Resource Center (PIRC) of FND www.floridapirc.org
FCAT Skills at Home Goal: To assist families to understand FCAT Skills and provide simple strategies families to use at home.
Why do we have FCAT? State and federal laws require that students be tested to see how they are progressing academically compared to state educational standards (Sunshine State Standards) and other students across the country. Thus, we have…FCAT!! Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test
What does FCAT expect of our kids? FCAT expects our kids to be able to: • Get the main idea and then apply that information. • Solve problems and write about how the problem was solved. • Write essays from prompts. • Take skills and use them in real-life situations.
What does FCAT expect of our kids? • FCAT tests kids in Reading, Writing, Math, and Science • FCAT asks four types of questions: • Multiple choice • Short response • Extended respond • Gridded respond
What does FCAT expect of our kids? • Kids need to be able to answer two types of questions: Low Order and High Order • Low Order questions have factual, almost memorized answers: What are the three colors in the American flag?
What does FCAT expect of our kids? • High Order questions require more thinking and reasoning answers: Why do you think the boy’s dog ran away? (Here’s a secret… you can make ANY question a high order question just by adding one word: WHY?)
How do schools prepare our kids for FCAT? • Schools teach skills to ensure that our kids are learning Florida’s Educational Standards. • Schools do practice activities to help kids become familiar with the format of FCAT.
What can parents do to help their kids? • Ask kids to explain what they are learning in school. • Know what your kids are doing for homework assignments. • Communicate with the school and teachers frequently. • Read with your kids as often as possible.
I already do that!What else can I do? • Involve your kids in household chores! Did you know that you can use FCAT skills while: taking out the trash, doing laundry, mowing the grass, washing dishes, vacuuming, cooking, etc. • Talk with your kids and ask them high order questions while you’re both doing chores!
I already do that!What else can I do? • While running errands, ask your kids high order questions: in the car, at the grocery store, in the check-out line, while sitting in the waiting room, at the library, at a restaurant… wherever! Ask high order questions everywhere you go!
I already do that!What else can I do? • Take advantage of the television! Ask you kids high order questions about the programs and commercials they’re watching. • During commercials, ask them what just happened, what they think will happen next, and then watch, check your predictions, and make new ones.
I already do that!What else can I do? • Do your kids play video games? Ask your kids high order questions about the particular game they’re playing and what strategies they’re using to try to win the game.
What are some easy things to do to promote critical thinking? Laundry Tips: • How big is the load of clothes? • How much detergent should be used? • How long will it take/should it take the clothes to wash? To dry? • What water temperature should be used?
What are some easy things to do to promote critical thinking? Shopping Tips: • Categorize items when putting them in the cart and conveyer belt (frozen items, soaps, etc.) • In the checkout line, read the headlines on magazines and newspapers and determine if they are fact or fiction. Discuss why certain items are put near the checkout line.
What are some easy things to do to promote critical thinking? Shopping Tips: (continued) • Subtract coupon amounts from product prices. • Use a calculator to total up prices as you shop. • Dictate the shopping list to your child and have your child write it down, or have your child dictate the list to you • and write the list.
What are some easy things to do to promote critical thinking? Shopping Tips: (continued) • Have your child push the cart and read the list to you while you get the items, and then switch places. • Have your child put the shopping list in order of how the items are located in aisles at the store.
What are some easy things to do to promote critical thinking? Shopping Tips: (continued) • Discuss why certain items are placed in specific places in the store (why are the staples like milk, eggs, etc., usually in the back of the store.) • Read products labels and discuss nutritional information.
What are some easy things to do to promote critical thinking? Waiting Room Tips: • What time do we have to leave in order to be at the appointment on time? • How long did we wait to see the doctor? • Why do we usually have to wait past our appointment time to see the doctor?
What are some easy things to do to promote critical thinking? High order questions starters: • Why did…? • What if…? • How would you have…? • How is this the same as/different from…? • Which is better…? Why?
What are some easy things to do to promote critical thinking? Television: • Use a TV Guide to allow your child to schedule programs for the week. Give your child a highlighter and a daily viewing limit and have your child make a schedule for the week. • Watch TV with your child and make predictions of what will happen next. Check your predictions.
What are some easy things to do to promote critical thinking? Television: (continued) • Observe commercials and discuss what’s being sold and why it is advertised in that way. • Observe what types of commercials are shown during favorite shows, and compare and contrast the types of commercials shown during different types of shows, and different times of the day.
What are some easy things to do to promote critical thinking? Video Games: • Observe ratings and discuss why the game received the specific rating. • Ask your child to describe the strategies of how to win the game.
What are some easy things to do to promote critical thinking? Videos Games: (continued) • Ask your child to show you how to play the game. • Play the games together - many games have options for more than one player (this also gives you and opportunity to be sure the game content is appropriate for your child!)
What are some easy things to do to promote critical thinking? Car Tips: • Note and discuss landmarks, discussing similarities and differences between rural and urban settings. • Predict and check predictions of times and distances the trip takes and the gas mileage of the trip to a destination. • Try different routes to check for efficiency, pleasure, gas mileage of a trip.
I already do that!What else can I do? Try these things too! • Write out chore lists, extra-curricular schedules, and appointments. • Make charts for family events and commitments. • Keep a family event and school calendar displayed and updated.
I already do that!What else can I do? Try these things too! (continued) • When reading, stop periodically and ask questions and make predictions. Be sure to check predictions. • Encourage your child to keep a journal or diary. It can be written or drawn. • Model speaking and writing in complete sentences.
I already do that!What else can I do? Try these things too! (continued) • Use the newspaper to read weather charts and graphs, advertisements, etc. Use the weather maps to locate states and cities of relatives and favorite sports teams. Discuss the differences in weather and why the weather is different.
I already do that!What else can I do? Try these things too! (continued) • Have your child help with cooking and following recipes. If the recipe calls for a cup of something, give a half-cup measuring cup and have your child figure out how to convert it. • Halve and double the recipe. Use a variety of measuring cups and spoons.
I already do that!What else can I do? Try these things too! (continued) • Keep a pocket calculator and ask your child to figure out various problems while shopping, running errands, etc. • Watch the growing patterns of house and garden plants. Keep track of the watering cycle and sun exposure.
What it comes down to… • You are the most significant person in your child’s life - you are your child’s first teacher. • What you model for your child speaks volumes! You have to model what you want your child to do. • Have conversations with your child at every opportunity, asking them high order questions as often as you can!
Contact Us! The Florida Parental Information and Resource Center (PIRC) of FND 2735 Whitney Road, Clearwater, FL 33760FL toll free: 800-825-5736 or 727-523-1130Fax: 727-523-8687 www.floridapirc.org