Wednesday, March 11, 2015

{#sol15} the real test 11/31

The March Slice of Life Story Challenge
hosted at the Two Writing Teachers
Join us for a month of writing!

I have avoided writing about our testing season.  It has not been a walk in the "PARCC", but I commend the students for trying their best even under the circumstances of hours upon hours of testing.  That's all we can ask for, right? 

I have accepted what is and look forward to the conclusion of this testing season before we turn the calendar to find another testing season looming.  As Christy shared in her celebration post so eloquently, I am trying to "reimagine testing."  

Our testing season began last Tuesday.  Every day since, I have been administering the assessments.  Most days, in the morning I have been working with a small group of two third grade boys, and then in the afternoon, individual students for missed sessions.

I know all the students visiting my classroom, but I do not work with any of them in my intervention groups and many have never even been to my room.  When they walk into my room, their heads quickly turn and their eyes dart to my classroom library.  

That's the look I love to see on a student's face.  Book love.  We've now connected. 

Once we get settled, testing begins.  I read through the lengthy scripted directions and finally get to the point when I ask, "Do you have any questions?"

A hand raises.  "Yes?"

"Um.  I was wondering," looking over his shoulder, "Well, when we are done, could I borrow a book?"

I smile and joyfully laugh.  "Absolutely."  

That's the real test of a reader.


Update:  I spotted this Chicago Tribune headline this morning: Helping Students See Big Picture About PARCC.  The article (in the Health & Family Section from Wednesday, March 11, 2015) is worth reading, in particular the letter to students at the end of the article.  I think teachers need to hear this reminder in the wake of testing as well: 

"(S)cores will tell you something, but they will not tell you everything. 
There are many ways to be smart."   

And then ... this article was sprinkled in my Twitter feed.  This is real life learning!  This is what we want for our students and children!  7 Things Every Kid Should Master (The Boston Globe)


  1. We finished PARCC testing last week. It's nice to have it behind us. I love the reference to your library and the "real test of a reader." Books are magical and always waiting for us.

  2. Our kids know as soon as PARCC testing ends each day, we move to read aloud. It re-centers us, reminding us why we love school, and enjoy our time together.

  3. Testing in never fun for the student or the teacher, but how special that these students observed and wanted to find a new book. Love ya, Mom

  4. Yes the joys of testing! I thought there was to be less testing this year, yet I keep hearing about more?!? I love how your story ends. Xoxo

  5. I love this! I wish the people who decide when and how and what is tested could find a way to "measure" what you've described here so they could just leave us alone to teach kids how to be human beings who love to read and write and solve the world's problems. :)

  6. You can't avoid or go around the test but you can change the lens you look at it. Using your idea the test became smaller and other values bigger.

  7. The best part of PARCC? When my kids were done and could read until the session was over. Bliss.

  8. The best part of PARCC? When my kids were done and could read until the session was over. Bliss.

  9. Michelle - I couldn't agree more about what the best test of a reader is. They want to read, and they crave books. How nice that after testing they had just that opportunity with you.
    I also helped proctor and the browsing of books afterward was the best.

  10. Today was my first normal day of teaching after nearly 3 weeks of testing! I haven't avoided writing about it as nicely as you... glad you wrote this one though! What a bright spot in your day! :-)

  11. We are testing too! Today I proctored two seventh grade sessions. Tomorrow fifth and sixth. It's grueling! I love that your little guy got the chance to enjoy some real books after he was done testing!

  12. "That's the real test of a reader." It's also the real joy of a teacher.
    We're almost done with our walk in the PARCC.
    (Until round 2...PARCC EOY)

  13. Replies
    1. Love that the eyes and focus were on the books! Sweet.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts.