Monday, April 28, 2008

STARnival

STAR testing time was given the name STARnival by one of my colleagues. It is pretty aptly named since the entire process is a horrid little joke that schools suffer in so many ways.

For instance, a rumor went around this week that today was National Ditch Day. Who the hell knows if it was true or not, except that it's one of those things that the NCLB idiots really don't take into account. Some teachers suffered major attendance issues, even in other schools around the county. I did not, but I don't teach students that take the tests.

Instead my students (four Economics classes and one AP Comparative Government class) are parceled out to other teachers for three hour testing blocks today, tomorrow, and Thursday. I needed to make lesson plans for these blocks, which included computer lab work on stock projects (power points and written reports), a Frontline video on Wal-Mart, and some textbook work on Market Structures. The teachers taking my classes are more than competent, so the information will easily get passed onto the students. Still, it becomes a challenge when some students look around in confusion because they didn't pay attention when I assigned the work. Then the panic sets in when they run to me at lunch and request a full explanation of the work, only to have me say, "Read me the directions".

"I don't have the directions."

"Where can you get the directions?"

"On the Moodle", stated in the smug 'I already know that' voice.

"Ok, go print out a copy of the directions. It will take five minutes and I'll be here when you get back."

"Can't you just give me a copy now? I need help with.....", any number of things that I've explained a half dozen times.

I then give the unamused stare. "Get the directions. I'll be here".

Believe it or not, some students will in fact print the instructions and come back for help. In my eyes, it is the sign that the student (even though it is late in the game) has come to focus on the task at hand and is open for learning. This is good. Unfortunately, some students simply go off and don't take the five minutes to print off the instructions, leaving them just as clueless as before because they want the answers given to them. Remember, they need to want it more than you do. I make myself available, but we are talking about Seniors in high school that are well aware about their position in class. In the end they make choices. It is that simple.

So more STARnival is coming this week, and then a couple of days next week are block to assist with more fun and games. Wonderful.
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