One of the banes of teaching is the "t" word...testing. We give all kinds of tests. Reading tests, Math tests, Writing tests, district office tests, state tests, national tests all of them useless except for one thing, I get to know my students academically a little bit more than before the test. In some cases, even personally. But all this testing for any other reason is a bunch of wasted energy, time, and resources...thank you George W. Bush. (But, I will refrain from "going there" and talking about that)
So, the Wednesday and Thursday after Back-to School night, I had arranged for each of my students to drop by for some one-on-one testing. Here's how
it all went down:
1. Student arrives with parent.
2. Parent (along with younger siblings in some cases) sit outside the door and fill out volunteer sheets, student information sheets, donation checks etc.
When Ethan's younger sibling didn't want to leave him with me, Ethan said,
"He loves me! He looks up to me!"
Oh, that we could all have someone in our life like that.
3. First grader writes his/her name in his/her best manuscript printing. Some are definitely better than others.
3. Then, the first grader counts as high as he/she can count. Usually I stop him/her around 50. I can tell what they do and do not know by then...usually by 20. However, occasionally, a child loves to rattle off all the way to 100, so I let them.
5. Next, write the numbers. One number in each box to 100. This is a difficult skill for most first graders coming in from Kinder. I was pleasantly surprised that so many of them could make it to 20. I would have them count by 10's. Most could. Then by 5's. Most couldn't.
Eden had it going on!!
6. Then comes my favorite part, READING! I am a reading guru. I think I could teach just about anyone to read. I love to listen to these little six year old children trying to read little books. This year I had quite the range. I have some students who were still struggling with the alphabet...even letters in their own name! Then I had students (at least four of them) who were reading at a third grade level...
What to do? What to do?
That, my friends, is what being a teacher is all about. My job is to make sure that each and every child progresses beyond what they came to me knowing. Those students who are already reading and are labeled as "brilliant" are just as important as those who need to learn letters and sounds. They all need something. I get to give it to them.
After this testing, I let them pick out a book to keep. Then I take their picture in front of the bulletin board. At the end of the school year, I take it again in the same spot. That way, they can see how much they have grown physically. And, yup...you guessed it...they'll have more tests to see how much they have grown intellectually.
If they are as lucky as Tristan, Principal Cox just might be walking by
and want to be in the picture too!
I love my job.