BulgingButtons

Not bad for a fat girl


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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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Another Year in the Books

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The 2017-2018 school year has (finally) come to a close, and what a year it was.

The final week of school seemed to stretch on and on as a result of the six days lost during our unforeseen walk-out. The final day for kids was originally May 24, and for many families, that’s when school ended. Vacation plans were already set, or parents were just ready for their kids to be done, so they were.

Others held on, past Memorial Day, into this week. It was a slow dwindling. My class of 28 became 26, then 19, then, by yesterday, only 13. Our day was pared down, too, only three hours. Those kids helped me move out of our old classroom and into my new one, down the hall. They hauled books and boxes and totes and posters. They organized bins and texts and art supplies. They made a huge job so much easier.

They also played. The kids brought board games form home, and I had several decks of cards, and they played with one another in a way that isn’t usually possible during the school year. They were patient with one another, and they were encouraging, but they were also competitive. They had had a great time. Even on the last day of school, they had things to reveal to me that I hadn’t seen before.

I will miss these students, as I miss all the kids who have come through my room. Each year the group has its own dynamics, and each group leaves its mark on my heart. This year is no different. I’m honored to have been their teacher.

 


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So Much to Say and So Little Time (#RedforEd)

My brain is swirling.

I’m participating in Arizona’s RedforEd movement, and it’s been truly eye-opening, on several levels.

I want to share some of my revelations with you, along with some of my thoughts on the whole experience, but I haven’t had the time just yet.

I want to give careful consideration to my words (unlike some of my state representatives, who seem to shoot from the hip).

I want you to have a sense of what it was like to stand united with up to 70,000 people who believe as I do, that public education should be adequately funded, and that it’s not okay for the most vulnerable in our population to be hung out to dry.

I want to articulate what a sea of red really looks like.

I want you to understand that there are individuals and groups who actually want to dismantle public education in my state, and they would likely be happy to do it in your state too, if your state is vulnerable to their mighty influence.

I want to share these thoughts and more, but right now I have to get to school, because today I teach.