Friday, February 27, 2015

Learning, falling down and less testing

My students are stressed out this week.

We are in a two week period where they are taking a final in any one of their given classes every day because it is the end of the trimester and that is what we do here.
6 weeks (2 weeks x 3 trimesters)
We have state tests coming up in a month, which, for our 8th graders means that they will have one week in a computer lab for each subject area (math, language arts and science)
3 weeks
Our 8th graders have already taken the 8th grade version of the ACT, the EXPLORE test over two class periods, mandated by the state.
2 days
We do two weeks of school district computerized testing in the fall to...gather data for math and language arts.
2 weeks
Plus the regular assessments for grade that classroom teachers give students on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
3.5-7 weeks (5 days a week for 36 weeks in a school year)
For a grand total of  18 weeks out of 36 in a school year where my kids are taking a test. Kids. Tests.
50% of the school year
So we needed a reminder today about what learning and being a kid looks like and feels like: Puppies and Stairs. It was fun to be able to watch the kids laugh and relate to the dogs learning to do something as basic as going up or down stairs and I could see it in their eyes that they understood that this is what learning really is. Sometimes we fall down and often something that feels difficult at first becomes automatic later. The struggle is important (and fun to reflect on) and because of the struggle the learning can have more meaning to us if we persist and don't give up.

I needed this reminder today too. These are still kids in front of me. They still need time with their families. They have feelings. They, like me, like watching videos sometimes about puppies learning to use stairs.

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