Just as the title states Testing is over… so now what? Ever since the beginning of state mandated tests, there has always seemed to be a void toward the end of school. Usually, the last month of school is time for celebration and relaxation. And who is not to blame the students and teachers for wanting to do so. They have worked so hard for the past school year. Unfortunately, a downside of this time is students begin to miss days due to their thoughts of “we aren’t going to do anything today, so I will just miss.”
So what am I doing now the testing is over?
First, a little background of my past year. Earlier this past year I wrote about the scores I received from the last academic year. For those of you who did not read it, you can find it here. Let’s just say I was not pleased with my performance from the last year. Fortunately, I received the scores before Christmas break and was able to change the way I presented my material.
Being a History Teacher; lecturing is something that is almost a given, but I made sure I adhered to my mantra for the second semester. “Don’t Be Boring.” Some lessons I experimented with variations of PBL for my class and others I had my students to create flashcards of their own with pictures or drawings anything that would help them remember the concept. One of the biggest class changing opportunities came from Dr. Dan Lawson My School Law professor. (Currently, I am enrolled to receive my Ed.S.) One of our assignments was to create a screencastify of a supreme court case. I completed my project then wondered how I could use it in my classroom.
A few weeks later I had a student to be out sick for about a week and a half. I had a project I was introducing, and I didn’t want her to get behind. I used screencastify to give her instructions. When she came back, she asked if I could create more videos for her to watch at home. So from then on, I began to experiment with video creation in my class. I had a few students who asked to be in the video and then it took off! I had a list of students wanting to be in the video I had many students watch the videos on their time while out of class just to see their friends and wonder if they would get a shout out at the end of the video. The greatest thing about the videos was they were learning on their own time.
So how will I do on my state tests? Honestly, I don’t know, but I will say that all of my students have indicated they were more prepared for my test than others.(Of course, this is not saying that any other teacher in my school isn’t doing their job. I just think my kids were making me feel better about it.) My students this year are possibly the most confident group of kids I have had.
So now the tests are over.. Now what? As stated earlier this time of year is where the fun is. Most students feel that the learning is over, but that is not the case. Many educators use this time to experiment for the next year and even go on some field trips. My plan is to hit the ground running for our end of year project, but first, we will celebrate with our annual History Department Kickball/Games. High Schoolers may look like adults, but they are still kids at heart, and nothing will bring out fun like healthy competition. Other teachers and I get just as competitive as the kids.
Now back to the academic action, I am planning on my students to create a legacy project for the remaining time. I will ask them to interview A person of interest who has experienced a significant historical event. They are to interview and video a person in their life who has been influential such as parents or grandparents who have experienced a historical event whatever that event may be. My inspiration for this project was from my experience. I got to interview and video my grandfather six months before his death, and it is so wonderful to have this memory of him that I can come back to. My thoughts are this could be a great opportunity for students to interview a family member and to preserve it forever. With the technology, we have now I feel this is something that can easily be done. I want this to be a project they can cherish forever.
I also teach a class called History of Modern Music. We explore all music genres in the U.S. from the 1920s to present Day. I also want to create a podcast over music. My students will do the research on a particular artist, and I will interview them on their findings. I have had a lot of excitement over this topic. My plan is for the students to have one old and new artist to bring to the table.
Also, next year we are moving to block schedule, as we prepare for our school morph into the Academy model for our school. I want to sit down with my students and help me map out the next year with projects. What worked what didn’t, How could I do better, or should I not include. Our students are our biggest critics, and we can learn from them on what will make us better to make them better.
So as we wrap up this school year remember some of the best lessons and memories can come from this time after the test. Ultimately it is up to you to keep the learning and exploring going. Always remember you make more of an impact than you think!
Tomorrow you guys will be getting Thomas Fuhrman, will share the ways that we are moving to the outer reaches of our campus (and beyond) in the month of May to become more college- and career-excited and aware through opportunities to work in our Ag Lab, participate with a variety of local partners for our school-wide career day, and our fourth graders visit Tennessee Technological University. https://tfuhrman.wordpress.com/
And if you have missed any of the other you can go back and check them out here.
Monday’s Mick Shuran mickshuran.com
Tuesday’s Julie http://techhelpful.blogspot.com/
Wednesday Christopher http://firesidechats.blog/