"Out of fear of failure or pressures from outside our classrooms, we let go of the very strategies and routines that could make our students succeed at reading, thinking, and writing."
Let go?!? I do not want to let go! I do not want to let go of the reading workshop that we have spent all year creating as our own. The students depend on this time, I depend on this time...it has built a community in our room. I do not want to start only examining inauthentic reading. I do not want to confine thinking to a box. I do not want my students to think that the only audience for their writing is the test scorer. At the same time... I do believe that data is helpful from that one day in a child's life. I do believe in my students and want them to do well. I do believe that authentic reading experiences can prepare them, but I also believe that test prep should not drive the strategies I teach and the routines we have established.
Although this quote encourages me to hold strong, it was our book fair at school this week that encouraged me to hold stronger and not succumb to test prep and changes in our routines. Our class went to "preview" the new books. As I walked around the library and LISTENED, (oh....the smell of new books waiting to be opened!), I could hear conversations around me...conversations about kids recommending books to others, the joy in their voice when they found a book they had already read, the curiosity that developed when they found a book by a familiar author that they had not read before, and the pride of discovering a book that we had explored as a class (Predator Showdown was the big one...they wanted to read all of the matches we had not considered during inquiry workshop). The students want to create a tub for our classroom library called, "books we saw at the book fair." The class wants to grab all of the titles that we were excited about, check them out from the library, and create our own tub that we could start reading right then. LISTENING to those conversations helped me to realize how far we had come, how well we knew ourselves and our friend's reading lives, and how all of the joy and discovery that reading can bring can not be measured on a bubble answer document...and I am ok with that.
Check out the status update on other OLW happenings this month at...
Maria @ Teaching in the 21st Century
Tara @ A Teaching Life