We are winding down on taking the Kansas State Assessments, we are like so many other schools as this is a stressful time for teachers, administrators, and especially the students. Even though it shouldn't be, it still is, because those not in the education actually think these tests mean something. However, this post is not about standardized testing and my feelings in regard to them, there are plenty of posts out there that will reflect that.
When I coached football I really enjoyed coaching spring football, and the reason was experimentation. As we put together the things we learned from winter clinics and other changes we thought needed to be made, the spring was the time to look at these new things, to see what worked, what didn't, and what might work by tweeking it a little bit. I also made our coaches work at a different position area to gain an understanding of that position, and increase their knowledge of our program and schemes.
After our teachers take a collective sigh of relief that the tests are over, the infamous question abounds, "What do we do now." We still have a month of learning and the year is not over, just because testing is, its time to put on more steam. We will encourage our staff to experiment, maybe they were afraid to try something new earlier in the year because of "test prep." Now is the time to try a new methodology, a new piece of technology, start a class blog, have the students collaborate if they haven't done so on a project, incorporate more or different critical thinking skills, a different type of differentiation, the list can go on and on. The point is step out of your comfort zone, you may find something that you like and works better with the students. Some things will work, some won't, and some will need tweeking to work properly, but take a chance. It will improve our instruction for next fall, and that's what its all about, a continuous learning cycle.
With the things that are now available, I find everyday I learn something new in the education world, and now I wish and hope our staff will do the same.