March is testing time for many schools. Students are subject to a marathon of standardized tests while the teachers try to make them comfortable and prepared through iPods, mints, and snacks. Whatever your opinion is on standardized tests, you want to make sure your students have the skills and tools to overcome such intense testing.
Scholastic Teachers shows you what works for other teachers in order to ease the anxiety of their students. What tips or tricks do you use to help prepare your students? How do you prepare yourself for standardized testing?
Rourke’s new series, Hitting the Books, offers titles that help students with writing, reading, and test prep. Studying and Test Taking teaches students how to be good test takers and ways to ease testing anxiety. This series is definitely one to add to your collection. Contact a representative today!
A few years ago while taking coaching classes, I learned about Crazy Makers. Crazy Makers are people or events that drop into our space uninvited. Once entering, Crazy Makers cause turmoil and drama in the areas we thought we had some control. Crazy Makers are experts at throwing us off balance and causing chaos. Over the years I’ve been pretty good at identifying them before they invade my boundaries. Recently however, I am finding that before I can even identify who the Crazy Makers are, they have already infiltrated my perimeters. The Crazy Makers have a knack for making it difficult for teachers to facilitate the kind of teaching that reflects best practice and developmentally appropriate learning.
Historically, January, February, and March are the “meaty” months of teaching. Routines have been established, community has been formed, and both students and teachers are immersed into the rigor and excitement of learning. Not so much this year. The Crazy Makers have invaded my classroom with the latest round of testing: computerized testing no less! The tests bring with them a prescribed list for implementation. The Crazy Maker mandates require that my third graders have key-boarding skills, that there is a scheduled time for practicing the test format, another time for an interim practice of the test, then yet another practice for an example of an almost real test, and finally in March, the real deal which requires six hours of testing for both ELA and math. The results of the final tests arrive before summer break so the students who don’t meet the benchmarks can have a special parent conference with the principal to set up summer plans for another chance to meet expectations for the following year.
Now to my way of thinking, if my teaching efforts were totally focused on actual teaching during those three months instead of scheduling practices in the computer lab, we probably wouldn’t need summer plans for students. But true to Crazy Maker form, they didn’t ask for my opinion, they just showed up uninvited.
I have encountered similar Crazy Makers in the past, but the Crazy Makers of late are sneaky and elusive. I am not sure how they scaled so many walls so quickly. I am also not sure how to protect my students from their unsound mandates. There is however, one thing I am very sure of. I am sure that I will continue to carve out sacred spaces for learning in spite of the Crazy Makers. I will not let the Crazy Makers take away the joy of learning from my students, or the joy of teaching from me.
There was a very interesting article in Ed Week that is worth sharing. The Common Core Math standards have had a lot of criticism from teachers and parents. This frustration comes from the decision to teach math differently, but not necessarily understanding why. Hung-Hsi Wu, a professor of mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, has found that the anxiety is evident is students too. Students have had math anxiety before Common Core even came about. But why? He believes the beginnings of math anxiety can be linked to the first day they learn about fractions. Read more about “fraction phobia” here. To help students better understand fractions and other math concepts, look to Rourke’s Got Math! series for step by step instructions, visual supports, and practice problems.
School libraries used to be one of silence. A place to get lost in stacks of books. The growth to media center came about to assist in curriculum development. Many school libraries today collaborate with teachers and support the curriculum needs of the school. The future of libraries is driving towards becoming more interactive and supporting 21st century skills. This article posted by eSchool News, explains this new space and the changes and benefits it has had on the library and students.
We support school libraries! Rourke understands the needs and challenges of school libraries. We are currently offering the “Best of Both Worlds” promotion until May 31, 2015! You receive the hardcover title and eBook for $29.95! Contact the office or your sales rep today.
QR codes are everywhere. You see them on real estate postings, in magazines, and even on products. These little one inch squares are packed with information that you can access immediately with your smart phone or tablet.
Can you imagine this technology in schools? Well it is and there are many ways teachers, students, and parents are benefiting from. But first, how do you even create a QR code? There are several free website like this one that offer QR code creation services. It is simple to create and effective in learning.
Check out some of the ways teachers, librarians, and administrators are using QR codes. Scholastic offers several ideas including ways parents can use them while waiting for conferences. Edutopia shares even more ideas including ways to use QR codes in reflection or homework. Finally this author and educator, David Hopkins, offers ways to incorporate QR codes in projects and assessment. This new trend in learning is keeping students engaged and using the technology they are so accustomed to.
Rourke is currently offering a Best of Both Worlds special! With this special you get the hardcover title and eBook for $29.95! The hardcover book with have a QR code that will allow access through a smartphone or tablet. HURRY because this offer ends May 31, 2015!