Teaching to the Test – Bonus Post!

I do enjoy volunteering at Kepler’s school. I usually spend about an hour a week going back and forth between a couple of pretty boring reading activities with the kids. As I wrote the other day, I tend toward literal thinking, so I have been following the instructions to a “T” on these boring activities, but today I decided it was time for a change.

One reason was because I was just tired of these two activities being the sum total of my interaction with the students. The other reason was because I had to got to stand in the classroom and wait for one of the kids I was going to call out to do the boring thing with me.

While in the classroom, the teacher (who I love dearly) was going over their upcoming math test. On fractions, they had to explain their reasoning on question 5: “Is Nick correct that these are thirds, or is Bella correct that they are not?” The teacher told them the exact words to write.

“These are thirds because they are all the same size.” She stated that three times and showed them the lines on which to write that answer.

Yes, I KNOW there aren’t enough hours in the day to allow the kids to work it out for themselves, but it sure made me glad I homeschooled the years I did, so I could ask open-ended questions to get my kids to think, instead of having to tell them the exact words to write and where to write them.

I’m going to let the other parents follow the instructions to a “T” for these two activities. I’ll follow them to an R or maybe a Y, and bring in some interesting questions that will allow these precious children to think about the possibilities, not just the right answer.

You might be thinking that I’m not actually being a very good volunteer if I don’t follow the teacher’s instructions carefully. I don’t know. Are you? I actually think I am being the best possible volunteer I can be by using my brain to think about how to accomplish the goals of these activities and still engage the children while I am there.

A funny thing is that Kepler has never been on the list for these activities the entire year. It wasn’t until last week that I finally thought to adapt the activity and include him as well. Today, the teacher suggested I have him go first before he had to leave for his speech therapy. Boy, it takes me awhile to get out of the literal mindset sometimes. But when I do, good things happen.

Next step is to figure out what I might change here at home to shift Kepler from spending most of his time on the iPad to spending more time with me, giving him the time and space to ask what a question mark is (like he did today at school). I know I can do it. I’m off to shop for curriculum now.

4 thoughts on “Teaching to the Test – Bonus Post!

  1. Bravo, Susan, Bravo. I love those aha! moments because it brings change and value to the rut that is ours if we don’t climb out of it. I’m especially happy for Kepler because he is a smart little guy. You go girl!!

    Liked by 1 person

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