Thursday, March 5, 2009


Slice of Life: 5/31

Here is northern Indiana the weather is turning to feel like spring. The air is warmer and the breeze is strong. A new sign of spring this year is ISTEP in the spring. That is our state-wide assessment test. Normally, we take it in the fall as soon as we get back to school from summer vacation. This year is the first time for grades three--to five in our elementary schools to be tested. The stress is showing!

Today I worked in three classrooms. The relief for the fifth graders to talk about something besides testing was evident. They were working on persuasive pieces. The teacher handed out samples of persuasive writing. The students gathered into groups, each with a different sample to peruse. I listened in on one group. It was made up of one boy and three girls. They took a few minutes to read the piece first. It was about lowering the driving age. Something these 10-year-olds took seriously.

They were to look at some guiding questions. The discussion began. They all agreed with what the article was mostly about, but when it came to the issue or main point, they weren't quite sure. Some wanted to include the fact that drunk driving in adults was a reason to have younger drivers. Some wanted to include that more wrecks by adults was a reason. They each told their points of view. Finally, they decided to not list reasons just yet. The question of how do you know was easy for them because they were used to siting the text.

As the class came back together for their sharing time you could hear the buzz of discussion. Several wanted to tell why they thought their particular piece was unfair. One girl said, "I agreed with most of it, but this one part was way off, in my opinion."

Yes, these were 10-year-olds. I feel these fifth graders did fine on the ISTEP test, but the more important issue is: they will do fine in LIFE!!! What a Slice of Life and the future that was today!!! Thanks, Mrs. Barney's class for sharing with me!


Jen Barney said...

No, thank you for coming in and giving me some things to think about. I am rewinding Friday and going to model some of my own thoughts- I think that we will be on our way after that. THANKS AGAIN!

GirlGriot said...

This sounds as if it was a wonderful lesson. After reading so many slices about kids taking the state-wide exams, my heart goes out to all the kids and their teachers.