For those of us who blog and many who do not, teaching is a Passion. Learning is not a race, but a journey. It's not a line segment, but a line that continues on infinitely. We are always moving further on the continuum to help our treasures become stronger readers and writers, powerful mathematicians, and problem-solvers. And yet, those who do not teach and have never been in a classroom, write education policy and tests. They use words like value-added, achievement, standardized, Race to The Top, and common assessments, all the while throwing in 21st Century Learning ideas and thoughts. How can you measure problem-solving? How can you show all the growth of a child in one 2 1/2 hour test?
Imagine G: she is very creative and is not afraid to share what she is thinking. While it does not always come out positively, I know she is constantly thinking. In January she told me, "Mrs. Archer, for some reason I don't like the words Mentor Text. I don't like the way it sounds or feels when I say it." Last week, she shared with me that she was using another student's quilt square as a mentor text for her own. She has internalized what a mentor text is.
L: There is a reading pattern from previous years: cannot choose books or stay engaged. As of last week, he had read 22 books and can read for longer periods of time.
N: He is now taking ownership of his work and is striving to complete quality projects.
C: One of my promising mathematicians: she has recently shown a lot of growth and feels math is not a 4-letter word.
Each student spent 12 weeks creating an electronic portfolio of their writing, reading, and reflections of math and content areas.
How do you measure these celebrations with a multiple choice, short answer, and extended response test? One answer: you cannot. Ann Marie Corgill quoted Albert Einstein yesterday on her blog: Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.
She also has a great powerpoint by Marion Brady on this message. Check it out!
So at 9:00am today, I will welcome my treasures in my room. I will close the doors and celebrate the learning that counts. The learning that cannot be measured and the unique treasures in my room. I will conference with my friends on their "How-To" projects. I will talk about their reading choices. More importantly, we will learn and celebrate our growth. When I begin to feel boxed in because of common assessment tests, standardized tests, and achievement tests, I will step back and celebrate Learning That Counts.