Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A Personal List to Help Survive Standardized Testing

When you're about to start week two of standardized testing at your school, you have to focus on the positives. Well, I guess you don't have to, but it's a good idea if you want to avoid focusing on all the mass-murder stories in the paper, begin systematically smashing all the light fixtures in your house and generally get real, real grumpy. So in a gloomy world of earthquakes & standardized testing what's out there to latch onto? What makes sense in a senseless world? Here's a list:

  1. Yesterday was Baseball's "Opening Day". Yeah, I know ESPN forced a faux opening "Sunday Night Baseball" game, but that didn't count. Yesterday was Opening Day and brought a smile to at least one grumpy teacher's face. What helped the smile is the knowledge that, after Day One, Ken Griffey, Jr. hit a HR as a Mariner (again, finally) and the Yankees are in last place. May Junior hit 80 HRs this year and the Yankees lose 162 games.
  2. There has been a temporary settlement in the Albuquerque Wind Bike Riders' Hostage Situation. After getting back in town and having every other day absolutely "Dyson Ball" suck for cycling, it looks like we're getting two solid days of bike-worthy weather. I know it's just two days, but I've still got plenty of wind-blasted sand in my beard from last Wednesday's NW windblast. Not to mention the large collection of (fortunately) small branches filling up my yard from the early, early Saturday morning freak-o-storm. April kinda came in like an Al Qaeda terrorist this year. Yeah, I know...cruelest month and all that.
  3. There are only 33 days of school left. I love my job and all, but I also love that there is only 33 days of it left. And if you count in a useless 1/2 day of "In-Service", the last day of school, the trip to the "Cliff Amusement Park" the day before the last day and our three remaining days of testing at my school (six days of testing over two weeks), we're left with about four meaningful days of instruction. Okay, this one goes into both the sense (good) and senseless (bad) categories.
  4. Much of our remaining instructional time will be spent doing "mock trials". I've written about this before. This year we will have nine separate trials involving help from various high school students (thanks high schoolers!), and parents who are judges/lawyers, making for a total of about 300 people involved in the festivities. We are still working on getting the Goodyear Blimp, but this is a very good thing that is both logistically challenging and academically worthwhile (imho). And no, you can't really standardize test "mock trials". Good.
  5. My film class is putting on its first "outside" Film Festival. For years we've done a little in-house "festival" to end the Semester/Year. This time we're putting it on at the Guild along with the kind folks at PAPA (which stands for something including the words "Public" and "Performing"). The shindig is May 9th from Noon to 2:00 p.m. Please consider attending, won't you? And if you see Keif over at the Guild, tell him how nice he has been helping us get this thing together. More shameless plugging and inducements to attend will surely follow.
  6. We are now another half-hour or so closer to the end of the school year than when I started this list.
  7. Speaking of Summer and "School's Out for Ever..." and all that, I have a month-long bike tour of Germany I'm DYING to tell everyone about (including maps, daily GPS coordinates and 40-50 links to various "privat zimmers"), but won't because I'd rather keep the three readers of Burque Babble, and not drive them away with scarily obsessive, Unabomber-esque detail and such. So, I'll play it cool and just say, "yeah, goin' to Germany...for a month...no big...some biking around...yeah, whatever".
  8. The Yankees are still in last place.
  9. In even more "sports as mental distraction from life" news, today marks the start of the next round of "Champion's League" soccer in Europe. Yes, I care about this. Yes, I am embarrassed that I care about this. May Porto somehow defeat Manchester United. May ANYONE please beat Manchester United. In the battle for the "best team to hate" Man U. has got to be up there with the Yankees. Yes I am embarrassed about both knowing and caring about all this. I'd almost rather be one of those obsessive, mass-murder freaks who collects all the mass-murder stories and tries to bring them up in friendly conversation along with questions/answers like "I think this says something about America, don't you?" and then proceeds to pontificate on their pet, obsessive theories over an entire 30-minute duty-free teacher lunch. Almost.
  10. With each passing second, "Standardized Testing: 2009" is closer to being over. For those not in teaching, it's also a second closer to the end of Marty Chavez being Mayor. Along these lines, feel free to insert your own countdown clock of happiness. Just be sure to not think about the whole "it's one second closer to me being dead" thing. That's to be avoided.

1 comment:

Lucky said...

You could have gone on about your trip to Germany. It's the cracks about the Yankees that hurt. . .

I think we've got about 6 days of testing left at my school, too. I try not to count. For the first few days my ED class was pretty good about it all, but now their frustration levels are starting to ratchet up. And no wonder - they read and calculate at about a 4th grade level at best, but are forced to sit through these 6th 7th and 8th grade tests that they can't comprehend, much less have any hope of passing. What a dumb system.