The television gods have seen it fit to bog all my free time with wondering whether Jon Snow will sit on the Iron Throne just as testing season rolls in. Monday mornings have been quite groggy as I stay up past my 9 ‘o clock curfew to ensure my viewing is not ruined by any would be spoilers. Whether my students are fellow Game of Thrones enthusiasts or they are simply ready for summer remains unknown. My freshman students have been prepping for their state standardized reading test while my juniors finish their current unit with a project-based performance task.
The use of Kylene Beers and Robert Probst’s “three big questions” combined with the questions “What did you notice?” and “What did you think?” have provided the proper scaffolding necessary to work through the play “Romeo and Juliet.”
Between End of Course Exams and Cambridge testing, juniors have a steady stream of writing coming their way. My class of juniors worked their way through a multitude of texts studying how American authors used naturalism and realism to create social change. They concluded their study of The Jungle and Food Product Design by debating on whether the way America processes food has truly become safer for workers in the industry and consumers at home. Their performance task offers them five choices. They may profile themselves as a “modern muckraker,” build a photo-narrative identifying a problem in their community, write a short story that uses naturalism to depict a modern man vs nature struggle, satirize an issue of modern society in an essay, or develop their own idea to demonstrate the comprehension and mastery of skills built within the unit. I have already had one student submit an idea to create a board game titled Realism.
Testing season is upon us. We must face it together as the free men stood against the Night King. Covering classes, making positive conversation in common areas, sharing materials, and grading from the couch will all serve as strategies to maintain sanity and make sure the students we have helped grow do their best on the test. Small acts of positivity travel far and wide across the campus, and you never know who might need a smile just to get through the day. Happy Testing Season yinz!