Friday, April 20, 2012 feels like a prison

Ah... April. Sweet rain showers, the smell of budding leaves and flowers and the ever reliable arrival of testing season. I haven't seen my students in a week because of state testing. Schedules have been flipped, hallways are as quiet as a church sanctuary with big signs posted, "Quiet. Testing." I finally saw my group of 3rd grade ELL boys. We work on academic language and since they had just finished their first MCA test I asked them how it went. They told me the test was okay and then went into great detail about who got in trouble, couldn't sit still, made noise, and had to be disciplined. This was very interesting to them and they were all very glad that it wasn't them that got in trouble. So I asked them what they would want to say to the testmakers - to tell them about the experience. They did some brainstorming and then began writing. One student used the most descriptive language. He said, "It felt like a prison. My but heart from sitting on the chair. My hand was sore like I put it in cold snow." Wow. So this is testing culture. I asked the students what kind of questions were on the test and what was difficult and easy. They couldn't really remember, but they did remember how it felt in the classroom that day.... I long for the days when April showers brought May flowers and children had time to learn.

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