#sol14 March 15: Using Your Resources

Slice of LIfe

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge: A slice a day for all of March.  You should do it too! Check it out here. Thank you,  Two Writing Teachers

State tests are coming next week. Last week we went over testing tips – general things like “pace yourself” and “It’s just one test.” We were creating a foldable that I made from an idea I saw here. In general, I am not a big proponent of  devoting tons of time to”test prep.” I think my job is to teach 6th grade students to be the best readers and writers and mathematicians and historians (and until this year, scientists too). I believe that all we do in school (especially choice reading!) will help them in life, and as a side benefit, it will help them on standardized tests. We spend time looking at test prep questions almost as a genre study, so that they won’t come as a surprise during the tests.

But this is the kind of test prep I can appreciate – It says to the kids: you’ve got this, you know this, chill out and do your best. I owe it to my students to remind them that they are not only more than a test but can also be successful on the test.

One of my students asked me if they could keep the foldable with them during the test. I had to tell him “No.”

“Why?”

That’s the big question, isn’t it? I explained to my class that the test was standardized, that everyone’s testing experience across the state needed to be controlled, and that the state had decided that no other reference materials were allowed.

But I cringed inside as I said it.

When else in life are we allowed no references, no resources? My colleagues and I wondered about this in the hallway after school…I am still wondering.

So I will cover my word wall, my anchor charts, my posters.  I will put up privacy walls between my students, and I will follow the testing code that I promised to follow.  Then when this year’s tests are finished, I will uncover my walls.  We will be a community of learners again, and I think we’ll use extra resources that next week. . . just because we can. Off to write a lesson where students collaborate in groups, and need a dictionary, thesaurus, online encyclopedia, almanac, and the teacher’s help…. 

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8 thoughts on “#sol14 March 15: Using Your Resources

    1. That reminds me of that picture “Lies my teacher told me”… it has a picture of a smart phone on a calculator app, and the quote, “You need to learn to do this without a calculator. You are not going to be carrying a calculator around with you everywhere you go!” – 4th grade math teacher. It makes me laugh every time I see it!

  1. State testing always feels so overwhelming for students and teachers. It sounds like you are doing your best to counteract that one week by building a strong community of learners who know how to find information and problem solve all year long!

    1. It is very annoying! Plus funny – how I stand there wondering if I need to cover such and such up, which really has no academic value — one year I had a clip art picture of a calculator on my math bulletin board… it didn’t have legible numbers or anything – it was just a cartoon decoration! And I spent awhile contemplating whether or not I needed to cover it. Finally I covered it just to cover my butt… 🙂

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