Happy New Year! While Theresa spent quality time with the family and working with Google Docs, I did nothing. Yup. Over the holidays, I've probably spent less than 5 hours at my computer (scandalous, I know!) and even then it was a cursory glance at e-mail or adding music to my MP3 player. I took this neat thing called a vacation and actually did what one does on vacation - nothing. I worked out, hung out with my husband, did some cooking (gasp), saw good movies, and read. I always thoughts "recharging your batteries" was a cliche, but it's one I completely understand right now.
So back to it. Just in time for the latest round of ELA testing. It took me about five hours to get through my RSS feed today - lots of interesting and good stuff going on in the world. Adventures of Data Girl has a nice take on the week before testing. A few of the blogs I follow start each week by previewing upcoming entries. So, here at Grand Rounds, I'd like to propose that this month of months we talk about what's happening the week before, next week what we see during testing, and the following week, the immediate consequences, if any. I'll keep my eye on the media and see if there are any articles or press coverage about the assessments themselves. Let's hope there are no stories about scoring SNAFUs or cheating.
In the meantime, if you're feeling the pressure and looking to set your and/or your students' minds at ease, I"d like to recommend two books. I've loved Testing Miss Malarky since I first read it. The book has several possible implications - test cramming leads to high scores, test cramming isn't that important in the grand scheme - but is a worthy read. I personally love the student who is given fish and the explanation that fish is "brain food". His response? "I thought food went to my stomach."
Theresa gave me a copy of Horray for Diffendoorfer Day and it's a must read for anyone struggling to find what is important amidst all the testing noise. The book was written after Dr. Seuss passed away using notes provided by his secretary. The story itself is wonderfully pragmatic, classic Seuss (Miss Bonkers advises her students: Don't fret! You're learned the things you need to pass that test and many more - I'm certain you'll succeed. . . we've taught you how to think.")
Do you know of any good testing reality check books? Any recommendations for the week before the tests?