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Test-Taking Strategies

iStock_000006627042XSmall.jpgIt is getting to be that time of year, again! Nope, not Christmas! Not summer, either! Wait a minute…I just realized that I could not say it is almost testing time because the reality is that we are testing the majority of the time in one form or another. Testing has become a staple of our education system. The information we can learn from testing can be invaluable. If your students experience test anxiety though, their results may not be a true measure of their ability and knowledge. We all know students that participate in class and exhibit higher-order thinking about subjects, but when they begin their tests, the panic clearly shows on their faces and they freeze up. In some cases, you will have extreme behavior due to the test anxiety. On my very first time administering a state examination, one of my students became so anxious that she vomited and fainted. Emergency personnel had to be called. Due to this one experience, I definitely believe in the seriousness of test anxiety.

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Gearing up for Testing

iStock_000003621931Small.jpgThis is a two part series on getting ready for end of year testing. Today we will focus on preparation and tips, next week will we focus on some of my favorite after testing activities.

When you think of year end testing, it seems too far away to think about.  However, the testing window will be opening soon. Just this week, our district assessment team announced our testing dates.  Aaaugh….

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STEM: Engineer Girl!


The image above is not an accurate depiction of women in the sciences. When the statistics are examined and looking around the world of science and technology it becomes clear very quickly that there really aren’t a lot of women working as professionals in these fields. In her February 23, 2015 post, “Teaching Science for All: Helping Women Fulfill their Potential”, on the Stanford University Teaching Commons blog Teaching Talk, Mandy McClean points out, “less than one-quarter of bachelors degrees awarded in fields such as computer science, engineering and physics go to women.” And it isn’t due to the number of women enrolled in higher learning. A recent Forbes magazine report notes that males only outnumber females in higher learning nationally by 2 percent and according to the National Center for Education Statistics, since 1998, women have outnumbered men in post-baccalaureate programs.

So what can K-12 teachers do to encourage girls to choose higher education and future careers in the sciences, math and technology?

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ESSA Updates

Screen Shot 2017-02-20 at 3.40.28 PM.pngIt has been a year since the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, ESSA, replaced No Child Left Behind, NCLB, as the nation’s new K-12 federal law. States are working to implement their plans so that classroom teachers will be prepared for the changes that will become effective in the 2017-2018 academic school year. In a letter to all state schools, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos provided clarity to ESSA implementation instructing states to continue to move forward and that the Department will work to ensure that state education leaders have the state and local flexibility that Congress intended. States should continue to follow the timeline for developing and submitting their plans for review and approval and those are due on or about March 2017.

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Activities for National Opposite Day

nrm3.jpgI love quirky holidays and celebrations! On January 25th, set your sights on a day filled with National Opposite Day activities. Research done by Robert Marzano, Debra Pickering, and Jane Pollock (2001) have created discussions on the benefits of comparing and contrasting. This concept provides the basis for effective instruction. I have included fun activities to boost students reading and writing skills in the classroom for National Opposite Day while still meeting the demands of your standards.

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