Saturday, December 17, 2011


Yes, I know I've been slacking on this.

Honestly, I've been sick with either a cold or bronchitis or something since the middle of November.  Not sick enough to miss school, but just sick enough to not want to do anything except sleep once I got home.

Feeling better and nearly normal now and so totally looking forward to our Christmas break.

Just a few random observations...

We had three days of Government Mandated Really Big Deal Testing for our seventh graders.  Three days of constructed response writing tests.  So, for the first three periods of the day, the kids were testing and writing.  Except they finished in 20-30 minutes and then had nearly two hours to just sit there and BE SILENT.  I'm convinced that whomever comes up with these ideas for these tests has never been in a seventh grade classroom (at least not recently) and has no clue about 12 and 13-year-olds.  A big block of time, doing the same thing, for these kids is maybe twenty minutes.  Thirty max.  No standardized test should last longer than a typical classroom period.

So, the result of making these seventh graders be ABSOLUTELY SILENT AND STILL for nearly three class periods is that they lost their minds.  We had a dance that Friday and had not one, not two, not three, but FOUR fights break out.  It's rare we even get one, let alone four.  All of a sudden kids who were normally well behaved were acting like fools and teachers were writing referrals and sending kids to the office left and right.  Kids were starting fights in PE, in lunch, in the halls, you name it.  It's nuts.

We all need a break from each other.

Another result, I believe of the testing exhaustion and the upcoming holidays, is that my kids stopped working.  They just up and quit.  Homework turn in dropped to below 50% and kids who had never missed an assignment had zeroes.  In-class work - not turned in.  Project - not turned in.  All these things we're doing in class, and they aren't turning them in.  They woke up a bit this week and managed to turn in a bunch of late assignments (when some of them realized that they were pretty close to failing or dropping a few letter grades), but it was almost bizarre how the entire grade just up and stopped doing school.  Mrs. Eagle's and Mrs. Angora's kids weren't any better.

On the positive side, my homeroom still rocks.  It's bigger now - we got some new kids and I now have 27 in there so I'm nearly out of seats, but still most of them are pretty good kids and they get along with each other.  We're having a canned food drive for our Angel Tree program and they've been wanting to win the pizza party - but even more than that, they Want to Beat the Sixth Grade.  Every year a sixth grade class wins and we're trying to change that trend.  My kids claim that one particular sixth grade teach bribes her kids as well as brings in a lot on her own, but I told them we were playing fair and not going down that road.  We ended up with over 350 cans, which is huge, but I'm not sure it's enough to beat the Dreaded Sixth Grade.  We'll find out on Monday.

We have a day and a half left and then some time off.  Plans?  Sleeping, reading, knitting, spending time with hubby.  Perfect.


TeacherFromTN said...

I'm third grade in East TN, and we do the same Constructed Response Test. 90 minutes for reading, 90 minutes for math. We were told that the children were not allowed to read or draw when they finished their tests. It was pure torture to keep them in control. We still have to go all the way through a half day next Thursday!

So glad you are feeling better--I've missed reading your blog, and worried that maybe everything wasn't okay. Enjoy your break!

Teacher Teacher! said...

I feel your pain about fights. I teach 7/8th computer classes in Phoenix and broke up a fight outside my door and played crowd control for another a 1/2 hour later. One kid got so unruly I had to write a referral with 50 minutes to go before our 2 week break. Everyone needs a break from each other. You’re not’s pretty much standard operating procedure for all 7th graders around the nation.

Darren said...

I'm with you on your first 2 'graphs--wish I could join you in the 3rd!