Monday, December 8, 2014


I've noticed that my students this year are really good test-takers, and by that I mean they are very respectful of a testing environment, always quiet and quite serious. I don't mean that they are good at studying for tests, because they are not; preparing in advance for an assessment on specific material is still an emerging skill for most of them.

That's not entirely unexpected, though, managing a schedule of 7-8 different teachers is one of the ways middle school kicks it up a notch from elementary school. Unfortunately, they also seem to have another glaring weakness as well: so many times when I ask them to use their imagination they act as if their brains are breaking.

Just today in a mini-lesson on figurative language the question was "If the main character in your book was an animal what would he or she be and why?" I was astonished at how many students could not fathom how to approach this exercise. "There's no right or wrong answer," I told them, "as long as you can explain why." And that seemed to frustrate them even more.

PS Could it actually be 34 years since we lost John Lennon? Imagine that.

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