- Every day we have to read books and take AR tests.
- We take the STAR test.
- We have spelling tests every Friday.
Listening to their answers made me stop and think about what my kindergartners would say about their experience. To answer the question, "What did you do in kindergarten," I pray their answers would be:
- We learned to read and write.
- We played.
- We made friends.
- We did Genius Hour with our second grade buddies.
- We write the sentences Mrs. Hansen reads to us,
- We do flashcards everyday, or
- We read word lists everyday?
I've been following the twitter chat about the book Teach Like A Pirate by Dave Burgess (#tlap) for a few months now. I haven't read the book but I love reading what people have to say about it, and it's on my To Read list for this summer. One of the greatest thoughts I have gotten from the chat is the question, "Are there any lessons you teach you could sell tickets to?"
It bothers me that school is boring. In our test-driven society, it has become so much more about teachers teaching and not about students learning. In some ways, I feel we have lost sight of what is best for kids and what is really going to help them be successful in life. I want engagement in my classroom. I want students sitting on the edge of their seats because they can't wait to start. I don't want students reading books only to take a test so they can reach their point-goal for the quarter. I don't want their memories of my class to be about tests at all.
Next year, I'll be a first grade teacher. Hopefully, I have a principal who will support my goals. I want to sell tickets to my classroom. I want my students to want to be there because of what's going on within my four walls (or the gym or the cafeteria or the computer lab or wherever our learning needs to take place) not just because they have to be there. I hope that next year when the kindergartners come visit and they ask what they will do in first grade, my kiddos jump out of their seats and fight over who gets to say what about first grade!