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Archive for March 18th, 2015

 

SOL #18

SOL #18

I have been brainstorming all day.  I am chasing an elusive topic.  I know what my fingers want to write about, but I am avoiding it.  There are just so many things that are easier to write about, like spring happening outside my door or my cat chasing a baby lizard.  But these subjects are fluffy, romantic, stupid.

It’s moments like these that I wish I were Donalyn Miller or Nanci Atwell, and I could just come right out and say it.  I’d say it so eloquently that someone would get it and do something about it.  I’m not a famous educator.  I have not published any books on teaching.  But I am there in the trenches, as they say, doing the job.

This is the week, the dreaded week, of testing.  Actually, this is only the first of three weeks of testing.  We have another one in April and a third in May.  What is this world coming to?  Who in the real world takes tests for three weeks?  My daughter took the Bar Exam and it was only one week.  And at the end of that test, she became a lawyer.  At the end of this testing, where will our students be?  Gladly out for the summer!

Prior to this testing week were weeks of “test prep.”  Why?  Because we fear that our teaching isn’t good enough, that the test is too hard, that they are not ready.

I am one of the lucky ones.  My students are gifted. They are telling me the test is not as hard as they thought it would be.  I think this is a good sign.  But even so, the test is not what we have been doing in my class.  In my class, my students read the books they want to read and write about what they want to write about.  Horrors!  Will they be ready?

I’m wondering what happened to putting students first.  What happened to good old Piaget’s theory of child development?  (Note: Theoretical, abstract logic do not happen until 11+ years.)

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Today I listened to beautiful and eloquent Nancie Atwell on CNN.  Her students do authentic writing and reading, so they know what writing and reading are good for.  She would not encourage any creative thinker to go into the field of public education as it is right now.  “It (CCSS) has turned teachers into technicians, not reflective practitioners.”   Wow!  That is heavy.  If Common Core and the tests have done this to teachers, then heaven forbid what they are doing to our students.

Where is the love of learning?  Who will teach our students that reading is pleasurable?  What about creativity?  I shudder to think what kind of adults this testing environment will produce. Creative problem solvers? Effective communicators? I think not.

 

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