Friday, February 29, 2008

No Fun...

The tests are coming the tests are coming...drop everything, all hands on deck; we must prepare our students to take their standardized tests!

Yesterday, I asked my 8 year old daughter if she was doing anything fun in school. She replied if her teacher was happy with how the class answered the questions on the tests next week, (Standardized State Exams), they would get to have a pizza party!
(Although Julia really would prefer an ice-cream party)

Today I am at an elementary school pouring over department of education data from last year's standardized tests trying to determine what students should be targeted for special remediation. I.E. which kids are close enough to proficient to be worth the effort?

And just a moment ago I was speaking with a science teacher who is sincerely doing her best to cover a full school year of curriculum in 7 months so her students can be ready to test by the end of March. How can she squeeze 9 months of material into 7? Something had to be cut out, but what? Sadly, it was the FUN stuff. Hands-on experiments and inquiry based learning.

These are small children we're talking about. Do you think the next Nobel Prize winning physicist will credit the facts she remembers from her 4th grade science class? We need to create interest, excitement, stir curiosity, and stoke passion. These are the ingredients of scientific discovery. Instead we are allowing yet another generation of students to become disinterested in S.T.E.M. based fields because we've taken out all of the FUN.

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