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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Test. Test. Test UGH!

To get right to the point... I am getting so frustrated over all the testing we need to do that I don't think there is any other way to start this blog other than saying "UUGGHGGHHHH!"
Okay, so that wasn't the most professional way to start off, I apologize.  I feel like has every year goes by, more and more tests are added!  How do these tests really help our kids? How are they helping us as teachers?  I know that my kids and I are doing a great job by the look of excitement on their faces when they see me, or the curiosity when I talk about something new, or the pride they show when I say something as simple as "Good Job!" 
To give you a little more background, right now I'm teaching 2nd grade.  Every Friday (yes, EVERY) all 1st and 2nd grade teachers need to set this day aside to test, test and test (summative assess.). In my opinion, this is one more day of experimenting with new ideas and innovation LOST! We do so much testing, when is the teaching? Yes, we have four other days of the week... but those four are teaching to the tests for Friday! If this pattern continues of  too much testing, what will happen to our kids' outlook on education? Will they still want to learn? What will their thoughts be about school? I fear the worst.
I agree with Mike Soskil that we need to take a serious look at how we teach and start to make changes. He makes great points about testing and changing our methods as teachers.  Besides the obvious change of less testing, we need to bring more technology and social media into to the classroom! As a long term substitute, I have been trying to take chances with incorporating new technology and social media into my classroom.  Social media for 2nd graders? They love it! It is risky to be trying these new ideas as a LT, as well as in a situation where many other teachers are afraid of what may happen with using this technology. 
Our students are going to learn this technology faster and (probably) better.  So why not incorporate it in our lessons?  If we try shelter them from the inevitable, then it will just become a power struggle... what happens when you tell a child/teenager not to do something- THEY DO IT! Would we rather teaching our kids the correct way to enjoy and reap the benefits of this media, or allow their friends to help them figure it out?
I don't know about you, but I would rather have my students love coming to school and teach using media/tools that were developed by some brilliant people.
Please share your thoughts!

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