Reading Passion vs. Reading Results
*I don't normally write true "blog posts" because I'm not extremely comfortable with my writing skills.
*There has been something on my mind over the last week or so, and I thought I might be able to let it go if I process it through writing.
*Isn't that something we try to teach our young writers...
As I'm sure is the case with many teachers at this time of year, we are "deep" in the season of standardized testing. Our students took the reading MCA (Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment) last week. They will be taking the math MCA this week. I've tried not to put much stock into this single test, but that seems to get harder and harder each year.
Unfortunately our grade level didn't have the results we were hoping for. We could go through the list of students that didn't meet expectations and/or partially meet expectations and give excuses as to why they didn't pass. Some of the reasons would be: attention issues, special education needs, missed a few sections of the test, completed the test too quickly, or no internal motivation to perform well on the test. As I started to do that, I realized that wasn't going to change anything.
I pride myself on the passion I have for books, authors, and reading. Each year I have gotten better and better at sharing this passion with my students. There are so many incredible moments during the school day that deal with the reading we do and the books that are in our lives. It warms my heart when I sit back and observe what is going on in my classroom. I have created a community of readers.
When reflecting as to why more of our students didn't meet and/or exceed expectations, I'm not sure I can come up with one particular reason or answer to this question. I found myself getting bogged down with this "focus" and I have had to work quite hard to get past it. Teaching is such a personal and heart-felt profession, that we take these types of setbacks personally.
What helped me move on and get back to the passion of my teaching and the learning my students have done and continue to do; is to focus on all the positive "moments" that we have shared this year that involved the PASSION of reading...
*Our "Breakfast with Books" book club with Skype visits by Jory John (The Terrible Two), Jacqueline Resnick (The Daring Escape of the Misfit Menagerie), and Candace Fleming (The Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementary).
*Our "Breakfast with Books" book club with author visits by Erin Soderberg (The Quirks) and Shelley Tougas (The Graham Cracker Plot).
*Celebrating our read alouds with Skype visits by Lynda Mullaly Hunt (Fish in a Tree) and Donna Gephart (Death by Toilet Paper).
*Sharing a picture book with my students to kick off each morning meeting (We are at 152 picture books as of today).
*Beginning each morning with my readers selecting a picture book to read and record on their reading sheet (They are at 152 picture books as of today).
*Giving my readers between 20-25 minutes of uninterrupted reading time with total self-selection of reading material.
*Sharing with my students seven incredible novels during our read aloud time (Fish in a Tree, Absolutely Almost, The Fourteenth Goldfish, Death by Toilet Paper, Flora & Ulysses, Hero, Rain-Reign).
I know state tests are probably here to stay, but I'm going to work hard to keep the passion of reading at the forefront of my teaching and as the number one goal I have for my students this year and the years to come.
Do I want them to do well on the "test"; of course!
Do I want them to have a passion for reading, books, and authors; absolutely!
Can I have a balance between "passion" and "results"; I sure hope so!