As Mary Tarashuk anticipates the second round of PARCC testing this spring, she tackles stacks of paperwork and teacher evaluation forms. She’ll also make sure her 4th graders celebrate Earth Day, revisit engaging writing prompts, and enjoy some fresh air.
Category: Kids on the Cusp
We can teach students the value of speaking out on critical issues while meeting curriculum standards, says Mary Tarashuk, who shares her 6-day unit inspired by the 1992 speech of 12-year old environmentalist Severn Suzuki before global leaders.
Most teachers Mary Tarashuk knows are salmon, with a deeply embedded instinct that urges them to keep swimming upstream against mighty currents (including CC standardized testing) to find their way back to real teaching that makes real sense for real kids.
Looking for a “standardized writing prompt” that will really engage her students, Mary Tarashuk hits upon favorite essayist Andy Rooney and his reflection on a favorite teacher, then fashions a multi-day practice assessment to get her 4th graders thinking and writing.
Teacher Mary Tarashuk has reasserted her “Irish Zen” following the full frontal assault on PARCC testing in her last post. She describes how her fourth graders had fun learning about Chinese New Year while also practicing for the high stakes test in prescribed ways.
New Jersey teacher Mary Tarashuk finds herself in a traffic-snarled “PARCCing lot” waiting for March testing madness to begin. In a new Kids on the Cusp post, she lists her concerns –including a PARCC 4th grade reading test sample that levels at Grade 9.
Fourth grade teacher Mary Tarashuk describes how lines from the musical In the Woods, the new Julian chapter of RJ Palacio’s Wonder, and a chance encounter with an anti-bullying article came together to spark some memorable student wisdom about character.
As Mary Tarashuk’s fourth graders took part in the Hour of Code this past December – assuming then switching roles as drivers and navigators in a code writing exercise – she considered how she might play the navigator more often in her own classroom.
Teaching students to “think like historians” begins with making connections between past and present, says teacher Mary Tarashuk. As her 4th graders begin the Age of Exploration, she calls on a Tai Chi parent-expert to help bridge ancient and modern times.
With the fall marathon of parent-teacher conferences finally done, Mary Tarashuk logs onto the district portal to input student grades for the first marking period. And then she finds herself pausing to wonder what authentic assessment truly means – when we’re talking to the people who care most.