A Little Teaching Before the Testing Returns

A MiddleWeb Blog

kids_cusp2We have about a week before the second round of PARCC testing begins. I’m going to try to squeeze in a little teaching.

But there’s a lot of paperwork coming due. Thank you to the gracious editors at MiddleWeb for letting me shorten my post this week, giving me some much needed time to complete student reading assessments, wrap-up a Social Studies unit, input grades and write report card comments in my “report card in the cloud.” I’m also going to complete a statistical analysis of my Student Growth Objectives (SGO) in preparation for my end-of-year evaluation.

T-EvalSmallOh, and I also have to complete an online self-assessment using the T-Eval platform (that checkmark is the letter L, being clever) to prepare for my bosses’ feedback at our scheduled, formal performance evaluation meeting.

I don’t think either of us needs the numbers. He knows my teaching. We’ve been working together for years. He often finds time to pop into my classroom without a Marshall rubric in hand. But move forward, we must.

Before test week arrives

walking-classroom-students-300Here are some of the resources that I am relying on to engage my students as we head toward a celebration of Earth Day, hone our writing skills, and get outside for some fresh air!… Testing week will be here soon enough.

Fresh air and audio

The weather is breaking! It’s time to increase cognitive function! Check out how to incorporate the benefits of The Walking Classroom into learning, and hear what some students from two years ago thought about it. TWC is a non-profit based in North Carolina, where I’ve done some consulting.

Empowering prompts

bonkers2This year, we are combining more Write-Aloud activities to model “On-Demand Writing.” We are currently reading in student-partners book clubs and writing both individual and “team responses” to a variety of writing prompts I found online. I’m going to let the kids pick from the list of prompts while I type a quick response in front of the class on our interactive white board. It will help me empathize with them and model “On-Demand Writing,” as we learn to organize and present our ideas.

We are revisiting the idea of “Wisdom Books” with the help of Jack Prelutsky, Lane Smith, and of course, Dr. Seuss! I enjoy the wisdom of Diffendoofer Day and will be using it again, as we prepare for round two of testing.

No harm practicing a writing prompt that is straightforward and gives kids pause for thought.

Earth Day actions

come back salmon coverWe will prepare for Earth Day by watching an inspiring twelve-year-old give a powerful speech and revisiting the story of Jackson Elementary School, where years ago, a group of kids brought a stream back to life.

I think this should hold us till test week…Happy Spring to all!


Cover Image: Pitlochry Salmon Ladder, Chris Ibbotson 2007

Mary Tarashuk

Mary Tarashuk teaches 4th grade at Wilson Elementary School in Westfield, New Jersey. Mary has been an educator for over 20 years. She has served as content writer and creative consultant for the national, award-winning initiative The Walking Classroom since its inception in 2005. Mary’s work has been published in Education Digest and was honored with the SmartBrief Education 2016 Editors’ Choice Content Award. Trying to balance her old-school teaching style with New Age methods that integrate ever-changing technology keeps her on her toes. She believes that fresh air and exercise enhance learning and engage students of all ages. Follow her on Twitter @maryrightangle and visit her personal blog (launched in 2021) Behind the Doors of the Teacher's Room for some adult conversation.

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