Oobleck

Friday for a teacher during PARCC testing is like winning the lottery. It’s like the best birthday present and Christmas morning and a romantic valentine  with a few Independence Day sparklers all wrapped in one.

5 days of testing. 5 days of my eight-year-olds going into a computer lab and answering in depth, high-level, application, critique and reasoning questions. 5 days of me holding my breath, hoping that all that I’ve taught them this year can be shown through this standardized test. 5 days of me resisting the urge to tell that kid to pick up his scratch paper and stop trying to do triple digit multiplication in his mind. 5 days of watching a kid type his “essay” with his forehead. 5 days of me questioning myself as a teacher.

WHY? I’m awesome. I am meant for this job. I am not perfect, no. I have SOOOO much room to grow, of course. I cannot wait to improve my questioning techniques and my strategies for engaging learners. But, for a second year teacher, I am pretty dang proud of where I’m at. This job is not for the faint of heart. It is not with ease the one enters this profession, especially in an age of missing funds. The adoration I receive from my third graders and their families is pleasing enough news that I should be able to rest easy when I go to sleep at night. Yet, there is always this higher power asking for more.

So, we made Oobleck today. My kids got insanely messy. The room got insanely messy. They were covered, up to their elbows and down to their toes, in this slime. They were smiling ear to ear and exploring color change, states of matter, mixtures of materials. It was so messy we had to write a letter to the janitor. It was so messy we used an entire bottle of Clorox wipes and half a roll of paper towels to clean up. But, they did it with smiles and laughs and a joy in their heart. They did it with appreciation for the moment and a sincere desire to give back. They discovered a new side of themselves… as did I.

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This test will never be able to see the scientists, the historians, the readers, the explorers, the writers, the philanthropists and the therapists that I see every single day. The people that grade this PARCC test will never be able to know these kids the way I do, and that’s a shame. They are really missing out. They are pretty darn cool.

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6 comments

  1. rosecappelli · March 12, 2016

    I agree. What we learn from testing doesn’t tell us about the whole child. Looks like your kids were learning as they were having fun!

    Like

  2. llsmiles · March 12, 2016

    You are a treasure to our field. In your second year of teaching, you are surrounded in support and involved in a community that cares about you and help you though anything. Rose Cappeli commented on your post! Some teachers do not know of one teacher/writer/researcher and have been teaching for years (true story). All that to say, I am so proud of you!

    Like

  3. Tricia Ebarvia · March 12, 2016

    What a wonderful treat—really, a gift—you gave to your students after 5 days of testing. As their teacher, you knew what was best for them and getting a little messy in a world full of bubbling in scantrons was what they needed. Bravo to you!

    Like

  4. Kim K · March 12, 2016

    I love that you put yourself out there in your writing. I love how you let go and let the kiddos explore. It’s during those times you get to see their true natures. 🙂 and how lucky are they to have a teacher that knows that?

    Like

  5. ccahill2013 · March 12, 2016

    “The people who grade PARCC will never see….” how utterly fantastic and brilliant our students are! AMEN to that! Glad you had fun yesterday with your students. Sounds amazing.

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  6. Leigh Anne · March 13, 2016

    There is so much to say about what testing doesn’t measure. We took Friday for a fun day too, after our week of testing. And what fun to make oobleck!

    Like

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