Wednesday, February 22, 2017

One Thing Leads to Another

One of my favorite moments as a teacher is when a small idea that I have blossoms and comes to fruition in my classroom in a way I never expected. Coming up in March, my students will be taking the Forward exam, a standardized state test. Naturally, the kids have some hesitancy about the test; so I had the idea to get all of my wonderful friends on twitter to send inspirational videos to my class about it.

The first person I contacted was my great friend Julie Smith; and she got just as excited as I did! Just before, she had attended a conference where she heard about a program called "Flipgrid" where you can share videos about the same topic all in one spot! So I got on the computer that night and with help from my husband, created a video explaining my idea, and shared it with my friends on Twitter!  You can imagine how over the moon I was when my friends Barbara Gruener and Joy Kirr responded with their videos within twenty four hours! Thank you!

I am very fixed in my mindset about standardized testing; I passionately do not believe that the score tells you  anything about the child's creativity, critical thinking skills, their communication skills nor their collaboration skill set. However, I have come to grips with the fact that standardized testing is not going away, it is a necessary evil, and it is important for our students to do well. 

So I asked myself... what is in my control to help make this testing experience a positive one for our class? And that is how I arrived at asking my friends for their messages, as well as making some changes to my classroom on my own.

  1. I can remain positive and upbeat myself.  I can remind our class to breathe, and not worry about this.  I can remind them to trust themselves.
  2. I can let them chew gum, have mints, and sit wherever they are comfortable to take the test.
  3. I can show them inspirational videos from my educator friends across the country.  Friends that took the time to send their own message about testing.  They say it takes a village and you never know what message might make a connection with one of the students sitting in our classroom.
We must never forget that teachers are learners too, and we have to adapt to stay relevant in an ever changing world. Today, I tried something new and it worked!  Color me happy and excited to share it with you! 

If you are interested in seeing my Flipgrid here is the link.

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