Teaching apples and Testing oranges

Earlier last week, I went to the district office for a meeting for CCSS for Language Arts. I had gone the week before for math. We basically spent the day looking at our old standards, seeing now they matched up with the new stanzas and then filled in with the new standards that are things we haven't taught before. Math wasn't too hard, as there are a lot of things the same. The language arts seemed a bit more difficult, as a lot of things seemed to go down to Kinder or we brought things down from 2nd grade that will now be taught in 1st. A little scary, a little overwhelming, a little unknown. But at the same time, some things seem to be easier or at least things we aren't responsible or mastery of anymore.

Once we got the standards figured out, we worked on making our new benchmark tests. And this is where I started getting upset. Right now, we use the Inspect test to see how our kids are doing. No one really likes it, as it tests a few standards each trimester and doesn't really show growth. But, it follows the standards. But now, moving into CCSS, we don't have a test that actually tests the new standards. So, we spent our time going back and forth between the new standards, seeing how they match up with our old standards and found test questions that sort of, kind of, not really match to test the new CCSS standards.

So, after 2 weeks of this, I have been thinking. Now, I don't know the CCSS yet, I am not 100% familiar with them and we aren't using them yet, but I do not that what we will be testing is not CCSS, but a have assed attempt to match so we have an assessment to show what our kids know. But then, we will teach our little apples, and test them like they are oranges. make sense? We are going to be expected to teach the standards so our students master them and have a better understanding of what they are learning, but we expect them to take a test on crap that doesn't really show what they know. And it's frustrating. No one seems to know what the assessments will look like for CCSS, but I'm sure it's got to be better than a fill in the bubble test. But that is what we are used to, so we will stick to what we know. Dumb!

Everyone keeps telling us that with common core, we have the time to go deeper, allow the kids time to really learn something. But with our testing and pacing guide, we will still be teaching all over the place to make sure they "get it" before the test. Mastery will happen when, then? A couple people have said that in their district, especially with math, they are able to do each main standard at once to really gain a good understanding. With us, we will be teaching bits and pieces of each standard during each trimester so the kids have time to really learn it. Um, I don't know if that's the case. If I'm teaching bits and pieces, then how will they master anything? Maybe with it being new, I'm not too sure how it will look, but it isn't making sense to me. It's seems like we will be doing the same old thing, just calling it something new. I'd rather do something new and make it my own. The teacher leading the meeting said its time to throw out all the old crap you've done for years and take the time to make CCSS our own. I like it. It will totally make me uncomfortable, but it will force me to change my thinking, too.

I'm OK with trying something new and making things new and exciting for my kids. I'm excited with this change and seeing what my kids will be able to do with something new. But to seat them the same old way? If that's the case, why are we changing? Why are we expecting our kids to be able to learn more and learn differently, but we can't be bothered to test them any different? And why are we so worried about testing our kids each trimester when they won't be tested nationally in 1st or 2nd? Why are we just recycling the testing? We aren't recycling our kids and we are told to recycle our teaching. It doesn't make else to me. Maybe I'm missing something. I don't know. All I know is that I am going to teach my kids to the best of my abilities next year, learn along the way and hope they come out on top. I'm planning on teaching my little apples and. Ot worry about what the test for oranges says!

Am I way off on this? Des it make sense? Let me know want you think!


1 comment:

  1. Hi Kristen! Just found your blog and I appreciate your honesty. I think that we are all a little worried because CCS are new and it'll be a challenge breaking them down so that we know exactly what we have to teach the students. We already know how right? We just have to really figure out what. At my district we are just starting to have PD meetings re. common core. I haven't gone to one yet since they haven't decided what grade I'm teaching next year (first or second, currently in first). CCS are based on California's standards, so we have that advantage over other states...we know most of them. It's just a matter of us having the freedom to figure out what's going to work for our students. Unfortunately, some of us may work for districts where everything is a top-down approach: support teachers/district people decide what's going to happen in the classroom without the input of the actual teachers in the classroom. A bottom-up approach would make sense...but then, they rarely ask us for input. Just remember to do what's best for your students and it'll all work out. It is what it is...and that's the best we can do. I have to tell myself this every day so that I don't go insane!