Thursday, April 21, 2011

Focusing on Empowering Students

During this "spring break," I have had time to 1) eat dinner out; 2) sleep late; 3) finish Cutting for Stone; and Test Talk; and 4) reflect on my life at home and in the classroom.
Like most busy teachers, I usually save a professional book to savor each "vacation."  This time, I chose to start with one that had been on my shelf for more than a year.  I was really looking for texts for my summer class; however, the text certainly spoke to ME right now in a very direct way.  In Test Talk, Greene and Melton remind us that we owe it to our students to continue effective teaching practices WHILE we teach testing genre.  Thus, the attributes that we know contribute to empowering readers and writers are just as important during our preparation for high stakes assessments.  Green and Melton present evidence that just practicing for the test, even with feedback, will not empower your students to score higher; however, those same teaching strategies that we advocate all year through WILL empower students!  SO, do not STOP your assessment guided, differentiated, small group focused, vocabulary, comprehension  lessons.  Make sure you continue your assessment guided, differentiated, small group reader response, shared writing, and interactive wrting lessons.
The era of testing is here to stay and teachers need to empower students through effective teaching practices.

Test Talk: Integrating Test Preparation into Reading Workshop

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