Sunday, March 25, 2012


The Florida Sandhill Crane couple that resides across from our school have decided to show off their brood. I love it when they do so; it signifies that spring is officially here.  They fly over and hang out in the stand of pines across from my portable.  Do my students know that these birds mate for life?  Do they stop and watch the babies with their awkward long legs and fluffy chick-like bodies?    Do they know that these birds are a threatened species?  Are they aware of a unique opportunity we have to stand still ?   Is there a way I can connect this to a standard?  Will it be on a test?  Is it important?  Are students curious about these birds?   Should I take advantage of their interest? 

These are questions that race through my mind as I work on finalizing my lesson plans for the fourth nine weeks during spring break.  Anything that means a trip to our library or our computer labs is out due to testing.  The library will be closed for at least 6 weeks and the computer labs for about 8.  Talk about testing narrowing the curriculum, in more ways than one it has. Testing and the resulting progress monitoring have taken away at least 4 weeks of instructional time in my classroom.  I don't cover content.  I create opportunities for students to develop a deeper understanding of what they need to know as well as why.  I find that I have less and less time to do so. I don't have time to change gears as often and respond to that teachable moment.  It's a frustration that many in my field share.

Today I scrapped my plans and headed for the beach.  It was that kind of day.  The weather was sunny and the water was warm, a perfect spring day in Florida.  How often do we do that in teaching anymore?  Scrap our plans, especially when the forecast in the classroom calls for something different.


  1. Yep...testing takes 6 weeks out of my life with kids...I'm hoping for a turn around soon.

  2. I like that last line and what it calls - begs - us to do more often - scrap our plans due to the "forecast" whatever the day.

  3. You couldn't have put the thoughts/feelings/frustrations of my building into words more perfectly. It is sad that on March 26th, I have heard teachers say, "Well, we are pretty much done with the school year, now that testing is starting up." NO! We have 2.5 months left, and yet, I know there is a lot of truth to what they say.... I want to scrap the plans. I want opportunities to notice, with students, the world around us, and to grow in our understanding of it, together....

  4. I took a short video of the Sand Cranes when I left school Friday. You should have heard them hooting and hollering around those chicks. I got a couple of pictures too, but the light wasn't right. I think you should capitalize on kids' interest and go for it. What are we doing with our time at school? What is our end goal? To raise scores on the test or to nurture and grow curious, interested, engaged, articulate human beings. That is what I'm thinking about here in NH.


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