BulgingButtons

Not bad for a fat girl


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More Testing

Here we go again. Yet another round of standardized testing. We’re almost done with them. One today (reading), one next week (math) and then, NO MORE! At least not for this year.

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Teacher on Test Day

So what does this mean for my kiddos? Well, truthfully, not a whole lot. At least not for most of them. It does mean that they’re tired of testing. It also means that some of them are losing their enthusiasm (if they ever had any) for taking these tests. This overkill translates into kids who just don’t want to do it, and therefore aren’t prepared to invest the mental energy that doing their best entails.

And really, why should they?

Yes, everyone should always do their best. Or maybe they should usually do their best. Don’t they have to have something, some mental energy, left over for the pursuits of life that truly interest them? Why burn myself out on this test when I’d rather finish it and go back to the awesome book I’ve been reading? I’ll just answer these last few questions quickly… I’m sure I’m doing well, after all I took my time on the first half of the test…

When we do something too often it loses its power. Imagine having a birthday party once a month. It would lose some of its luster. Well, it’s the same with testing. Standardized testing used to be a BIG DEAL. Unfortunately for us, it’s become an even bigger deal for adults (whose job performance ratings are often associated with these outcomes), and more or less no big deal for kids, who have done so many of these it’s hard to keep count.

Yes, kids, I want you to do your best.

Yes, kids, this one counts.

No, don’t worry, you’re still going on to the next grade level.

No, it’s not going on your report card.

But it COUNTS. Really.

Please just do your best, but know that I love you and I understand if you just don’t have it in you today. I know you’ve learned a lot this year, whether this test shows it or not.


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Testing Time Again

It seems like I’m always writing about state testing. Maybe that’s because it always feels like state testing time.

Today the little munchkins are taking a writing test. They will read articles at, or above, their reading ability, then write some type of adult inspired essay on whatever topic they’re given. I feel for them.dpgcjz9_5cdv8cshq.jpg

This task is hard. Sitting in one place is hard. Being quiet is hard. Doing one activity for an extended period of time is hard, especially if it isn’t an activity you’ve chosen. And if it’s one where you don’t feel confident? Well, that’s just torture.

I’ve tried to prepare them for what they’re about to encounter. I’ve tried to give them lots of opportunities to write and learn various strategies and techniques. I’ve tried to build their capacity and confidence as writers. I’ve tried. But the thing you have to remember is this: they’re little kids. Give them a break. Give me a break.

If you really want to see kids write, let them write about worms and aliens and Pokemon and colonies of warrior hamsters. Let them write about the time they went to the beach or the way their aunt does their hair or their favorite video game. Let them describe their dream birthday party or bedroom. Let them examine an ordinary object up close and write about what they notice. Let them be playful and imaginative in their writing. Don’t make them write about the benefits of recycling or the contributions bees make.

Let them tell you about the time the power went off during a summer storm, or the time they went camping and forgot the bug spray. Let them write about their favorite stuffed animal or their favorite dessert. Or how about this? Let them write about the time they had to live in their car for a while or about how their uncle shot himself or how they found their mother dead in bed. Yes, all those things have happened to students in my care. You want to give them another state test? Fine. But let them be kids, please. They’ll grow up soon enough.


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Time to Take Back Spring Break

I’m on spring break. School is closed for the week, and I’m free to do whatever I please. These weeks always go so quickly. Here we are, Tuesday already, and I feel as though I haven’t accomplished much. That’s not entirely my fault, though. Between fighting off some bug and having a medical procedure yesterday, I feel like I’ve been a little out of commission.

The procedure went well, I’m feeling better, and now it’s my time. Time to use as I see fit. My gut reaction? Time to read books and take naps. My realistic reaction? Time to clean up and get some schoolwork done. So, here I sit, at the computer, about to do my schoolwork. I’m taking a course to finish my gifted teaching endorsement, and I have homework. It’s a fascinating topic, and I’m enjoying learning more about these types of individuals. Still, I’ve put off my work, because I’m a terrible procrastinator. Why else would I be blogging instead of doing homework?

I’m also unhappy with the state of the room around me. I’m in my studio, and it’s a mess. There’s way too much stuff in here, and it’s housed in a variety of shelves, bins, bags, and boxes. At some point it all became too much, and I don’t even like to come in here. I need to get this sorted out. worklife-nansi-blog.jpg

It’s like the old joke. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Of course I would never actually eat an elephant, but you get the idea.

So, here’s my goal: each day for the rest of the week I will work on my homework, and I will work on this room. I won’t let either one overpower me. I will take breaks when needed, but I won’t quit. This is my pledge. I think I can do it. Wish me luck.