Slice of Life Tuesdays: Taking a Break

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Taking a Break

Assessments are over; what should we do?

Should we sing? Should we dance? I haven’t a clue.

Yes! Let’s dance! Yes! Let’s sing!

We need to take a break and bring

the students and teachers back to life.

Take a break — why, yes! That’s what we’ll do.

We’ll eat cookies and pizza and ice cream, too.

It won’t be long before the school year is through.

Then summer will be here; what should we do?

Our school year is much longer this year — 8 snow days to make up! I can’t help but feel a little stressed tonight as we wind down and prepare for summer and beyond. I’m thinking, “What should I do…first?”  Enjoy your last days of school!

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Thank you to the team at Two Writing Teachers for hosting Slice of Life writing. You ladies rock!

SOLSC Day 15: Home Again and Reading

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Slice of Life Small LogoThank you to the ladies at Two Writing Teachers (www.twowritingteachers.wordpress.com) for hosting the March Slice of Life Story Challenge!

Home Again and Reading

I have to say, that was a great weekend off! My sister’s birthday celebration was longer than expected, but very nice. (I’m too old to be out past midnight!) Sleeping in…ahh! (I probably don’t need further explanation for that one, right?) I don’t know if I could handle any more fabulous food. (I’m stuffed!) Now it’s time to get back to business.

I finally got home. It was nice to sit on the passenger side of the car today: sun shining, breeze blowing, and me…reading! Thanks for driving, my lovely daughter! I read articles, news from the past week, and some tidbits sent by friends.

Some of the reading hit me a little hard today. This “testing issue” in our country is way out of control. People are talking, and I think that’s a good thing. But I wonder about the actions that will follow as a result. I also worry about how the talk affects our demeanor, our attitude, our job focus. I need to keep in mind that I’m at work to do a job, and do it the best I can for my students and for myself.  I’m not sure how all the politics of education are affecting everyone else (although I’ve read MANY people’s opinions), but I know it’s affecting me in a negative way, and I don’t like it.

I’ll write more about this when I have my wits about me again. For the time being, I have to say that I will keep reading and sharing. Education is the most important topic, as far as I’m concerned. The words are out there. I’m waiting for the right answers.

Day 24: SOLSC Slice of Life Story Challenge

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Indiana says “No More to the Common Core”

Today has been a struggle. Indiana has “officially withdrawn from the Common Core reading and math standards that were adopted by most states around the country” (WSBT 22 News, 03/24/14).  I don’t know if I liked the Common Core. I don’t know if my students would have passed the PARCC. We never got the chance to try.

What’s frustrating is that Indiana was a leader in pushing the PARCC, Common Core, and spent “Bookoo” dollars and time encouraging us teachers to stretch our students into higher level thinking and learning. We were “trained” in the history of Common Core, and told, “this is the wave of the future.” Students would be driven to “read closely” and spend time on tackling argumentative and informational texts, and teachers (in my grade) were told to use fiction sparingly, to meet the new standards.  We were to get ready for the PARCC (the standardized assessment that would replace ISTEP) and beware of the consequences if we weren’t ready. We don’t want our schools to fail — we took the bait. Many teachers took all the hype to heart, even worrying that they would lose their jobs if they were not evaluated as “effective teachers” under Common Core. No one wants to be ineffective.

Well, now the Common Core is mute in Indiana. I am left to wonder, “What next?” What standards will we use to identify students who are below, at, and above grade level? How will the curriculum change? How will teaching life change (again)? Will our students succeed under whatever new plan our state government creates?

For now, all I can do is my best: read aloud to my class, teach skills and strategies I know I’ve used to become a better reader and writer, and re-create the best lessons from the twenty years of practice I have under my belt. I will continue to teach my students to read, write, and think. It’s time to move forward. Let’s go!

Note: One of my students wrote that she had “bookoo” friends, and explained that “bookoo” means “a great amount.” I’ll use her word tonight. I love that she tried to use more descriptive words in her writing (instead of “a lot”) and I REALLY found it cute that she defined the word for us in the text. She’s learning! 

 

 

 

 

Day 12: SOLSC Slice of Life Story Challenge

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What I Really Want

I want to curl up on the couch with a book, or sit on the sofa and let someone else cook.

I want to teach my students to read, and talk about characters, and write with a need

to say something important, to fight for what’s right; to care about learning, to end the world’s strife.

I want to vacation with family and friends. I want this winter to come to an end!

I want my kids to grow up and be free, to be who they want, to get jobs, and succeed.

I want to be able to sit back and relax. I want to enjoy life without feeling taxed.

I don’t really want much, I just want to say, “Thank you” for letting me live through today.