Wednesday, January 18, 2006

What Testing Pushes Away

Today, I invited my students to participate in a completely sublime and captivating ritual, one that we *NEVER* do because it is not TESTED (as in, Standardized Testing And Reporting tested). I asked my students to write a story. A descriptive, creative, imaginative story FROM SCRATCH. As in, no thesis. No persuasive organizational structure. No outline, followed by drafting, followed by heavy peer editing, followed by a careful/sterile rubric score. We are beginning to study horror as a genre. Today, I projected a transparency of René Magritte's "The Empire of Light" and provided this prompt: "What characters are in this picture? What are they doing? Why? What happens? You MAY make your story suspenseful if you choose." The room was dark except for the painting on the projector. I thought maybe they would write for about half an hour, then claim they were done. Then we could read what we had written in pairs/small groups. They were still writing when the bell rang. I had to give them the option to finish their stories at home. (They did this without any of these.) I am still blown away, because A) the kids REALLY liked creative writing, B) this is the teacher I like being, C) I had a great time writing my own story along with them, and D) I am completely inspired in my career. I am not going to let testing rob me or my students. Testing has nothing to do with a love of story or a love of language or a love of thinking. I think my kids should be able to kick some testing butt, but I don't think we need to throw out everything else to make that happen.


Post a Comment

<< Home

website statistics