A teacher to know


Jean Dunning


Short stuff: Education
Jean Baldikoski is a retired English and journalism teacher and an educational consultant for grades 2 through 12 in the DuPage Regional Office of Education. She won the Kohl International Teaching Award in 1994.

Her tips for parents

Starting with third grade, students will be taking the ISAT Reading and Writing test. As an educational consultant, I find that most of the anxiety among teachers and students occurs because many instructors are not sure how to actually teach writing. Basically, all writing functions are the same. At the core of every piece is a key idea which contains an opinion word that needs to be proven. It doesn’t matter if a student is writing an extended response or an expository piece, that opinion needs to be there because it controls all the evidence/details the student selects to include.

For example, the wolf in The Three Little Pigs is mean (key idea). Mean is the opinion word and then the students can select the evidence to show that.

Specific incidents can then be selected to prove the opinion (mean). The wolf blows down their houses, he wants to eat them, he threatens them (evidence) and these incidents show how he attempts to intimidate or harm them (interpretation).

All writing is made up of a key idea which contains an opinion, evidence and language to show how the evidence connects back (interpretation) to the key idea.

When reading with your child, make these connections in the stories you’re reading.


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