Thursday, August 17, 2006

No, you can't use a pen on a scantron

Today we started diagnostics. I was excited about diagnostics. Then I gave them. Oh my goodness, it's like these kids have never seen a TAKS test before. I carefully went through all the instructions for the test. We spent 10 minutes bubbling in their names and my teacher code (no, it's not 0072, it's 0702... no you can't just write it in and leave the bubbles blank... no, no, no). I remember hating scantron tests when I was in school, but now I seriously hate them. Since we gave them as a department I had to have the kids fill in their names all the way and my teacher code, things had to be correct so they could sort out the data. Half way through the test I saw one of my kids using a pen! A pen on a scantron. Had I had any time, that would have been the point I started banging my head against the wall.

The testing wasn't all bad though. In my first hour when I told them to begin and reminded them they could use the test to plan out their composition, nearly all of them started doing some type of graphic organizer. I could have jumped for joy. A significantly smaller amount of kids in my second hour did any type of idea organization. My third hour surprised me, I thought they would struggle the most and they seemed to do pretty well. Many of them organized before writing. We haven't finished all of the writing test so we'll work on that and the reading one tomorrow. There aren't words to describe how happy I will be if we can get through these tests in two days (it's not looking pretty considering I noticed before I left today that about 10 kids in my first hour had put the answers to the writing section in the reading section of their scantron). I really want to have data on my students and I really want to teach and stop doing department assigned busy work. Tomorrow was supposed to be the rules quiz and introduction of the binder system. I have no idea how we can do that and finish the tests.

I think I'm going to start a running list of things that break in my school/classroom so I will have plenty of things to celebrate when something/anything gets fixed.  The bells at McReynolds (always on their own weird time to begin with) worked intermediately today, which is completely throwing off my already shaky lesson plan pacing. In a weird turn of events, the building manager came in and turned up the internal power on my air conditioning, but with more air blowing out it was hotter than ever in my room. Every piece of paper in my room is still moist and things are triple taped to the walls so they won't fall down. Who knows what things will be like tomorrow in that arena, but if one more maintance person/administrator asks me if I have the air turned all the way up I don't know what I'll do. No, I managed to get a college degree and you hired me to educate a room full of children, but I don't know how to turn a switch to high. Yes it's on. Yes you are the 53 person to ask me that question. Yes that nasty body odor smell is my kids. They smell because they're 13 and at that fun age where when you stick them in a sweltering room they very quickly start smelling like your gym bag.

I also broke a desk today by sitting on it... totally great for my self esteem. I think I should have remember how much the kids like to take the screws out of desks before I just started leaning on them willy-nilly and all. Live and learn I guess.

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