Duck into Third Grade

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The Benchmark Baffle


IMG_3177Ahhhh! Not again!” Four plus four equals eight. Eight hours of learning lost to identify the students that know the material for THE TEST and those in need of more time… Hold the phone… didn’t I already have this information without sacrificing eight hours, well, actually it is a grand total of sixteen hours that are forfeited (we give 2 benchmarks per subject (reading & math) each year).
Can we let them grow and learn without officially checking their progress and stressing them out? Do parents put pressure on their one year olds to start walking? Do we take the wee ones to the dentist to get those baby teeth to come in in a timely manner? Do we stimulate the hair follicles of bald babies in hopes to hurry hair growth?
Why does education have to be so one size fits all? Standardized means the same for all, I get that, but couldn’t we ease into it. Third grade test could be half the length and we would still have more than enough information. Do third, fourth, and fifth graders need to be tested like teenagers? What is behind the thinking of the testing and lawmaking gurus? Have they done any research on brain development? I don’t see any evidence that those folks have the kids best interest at heart. Do you?
On the positive side for the month, we learned about Frederick Douglass, who taught himself how to read, without the help of state mandated testing, and we journeyed to New York City with a little elephant named Elliot, who had some struggles, but took the time to help someone with bigger problems. When I shared a book on George Washington the text said he had no children and one of my students said after a bit of pondering, “So that’s why he’s the father of our country?” We enjoyed a math funny too. The math sheet had four words dealing with money, (the new financial literacy…would that the folks in DC had this… any who) the words were: spending, interest, saving, earning. The problem asked which word goes with paying a bill. I asked what each word meant and when I got to interest, I had to chuckle at when I got this reply, “Interest is when you like something.” I love my job:)


3 thoughts on “The Benchmark Baffle

  1. So true, Sheila. Something is wrong when children that still ride in car seats (per state law) have to take a 4 hour rigorous test (per state law).

  2. Oh Mrs. Barnes, I feel your pain. We took our writing benchmark three weeks ago, and thanks to winter weather, our math and reading benchmarks were postponed until next week. Way too much testing sure does leave a nasty taste in my mouth. The picture of Titus captures my feelings perfectly! On a hopeful note, it looks like there are several bills on the floor this legislative session that might mean a little less testing for elementary and middle school students. Crossing my fingers!

    • Thank you for the hopeful information!!! The SOL looks cool! I know your kids are blessed to have you for their teacher!

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