Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Attitude

Preparation. Our state test is later this week and today we talked about testing. I asked the sixth graders to write down words about testing. They answered with words like SCARY, LONG, BORING, HARD. They expressed fear and worry as well as determination. We turned the conversation to attitude and I asked if attitude, their attitude, could have an effect on the test. They decided that attitude is a big part of success.

Talking to sixth graders about big ideas like attitude and anxiety...these conversations stay with me and inspire me. I'm impressed with their awareness and maturity.
We took two pieces of paper out. On the first, we wrote the word TEST. We made lists of words that we connected with testing. When we finished with our conversation, I invited the students to rip these papers and throw them away. We talked about how this symbolized the power they had over the test.
The second piece of paper is for them. I asked them to write a letter to themselves on the day of the test. I reminded them to include messages they'd want to hear before going in and attacking the test.
I love these letters. They are as varied as my students. Some of the letters are a page long with lots of details and encouragement. Some letters are funny and make me laugh. Some letters are simple and to the point. I believe in my students. I believe they are readers and writers. No matter what the numbers on the test say, I know they believe it too. 



Here's one of my all time favorite excerpts...
Yes, a grade on a test doesn't show who you truly are!



Thank you to Stacey, Betsy, Dana, Tara, Beth, Anna, Kathleen & Deb for this amazing platform to write and share writing! What a wonderful community you've created! I'm honored to be part of it. Join us at Two Writing Teachers.

14 comments:

  1. Sounds like my sixth grade classroom ...

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  2. What a cool activity! I'm sure your students will do well and these words of encouragement will be just what they need to make it happen. Good luck to everyone!

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  3. I think the most important part of your post is where you say you believe in your students! And, I can tell your students know that because they know the test doesn't show who they truly are.

    P.S. Thanks for inspiring me! Your blog and your classroom blog have pushed me into new writing and blogging adventures. ~Amy

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  4. We don't have high stake testing, but even having MAP makes kids nervous. I don't want to imagine the stress state tests cause. Cuddos for taking the pretest time as an opportunity to learn about attitude and perspective.

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  5. LOVE how you prepped your kiddos!! My 3rd graders take their Reading SOL on Wed and Thur and then Math on the 1st and 2nd. The 1st time to take an SOL but not the last!! I hope by 6th grade, they have a teacher like you who reminds them that they do have power OVER the test!!

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  6. It's a marvelous idea for support, Michelle. Of course all of you can support each other, but this support comes from within, a help they can reach for any time needed, in the summer or in the future classes. What a gift to give them. I love reading the words, too.

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  7. Now that's perfect prep and maybe soon THE TEST will just be a test!!!!
    Bonnie K

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  8. I love this! Such wisdom shared from these students and how wonderful you are for letting them find it, express it and share it.

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  9. Not only do I, too, love these letters, but I love the fact that you encouraged these letters to be written. You're such a supportive teacher, Michelle!

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  10. I love how you are changing attitudes by using words and actions and control over them. Go Team Haseltine!

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  11. Even the kids know that they are not the score on 1 stupid test! Terrific for them! maribethbatcho

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  12. I'm so conflicted here. On the one hand I'm impressed as heck with how you are supporting your learners. On the other, I'm just ticked off that you have to do this in the first place. Sigh...

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  13. OMG, I feel like I need to write myself notes like this more often! In fact, some of those posted above really spoke to me (minus the specifics about testing)! What a great exercise!

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  14. Positivity counts, Michelle, and you gave your students a chance to write their thoughts to prove the power of positive thoughts.

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