Nothing beats accomplishing a major goal. A task that is so monumental it takes months of detailed preparation and time.
…but now what. That is often the feeling after students and teachers finish up a state standardized test. I often pride myself on not mentioning the “test” or telling kids we are preparing for “it” come March. Wrapping up the state test is not a “goal” I look forward to every year. Instead I look forward to the “journey” of getting to the end.
For example, my goal for this year was for every student to improve their overall writing ability based of the 6-Traits of Writing — ideas, organization, word choice, voice, conventions, and sentence fluency. Yes, for those working with Student Learning Objectives (SLOs), writing was a major component to my SLOs. Setting high expectations, my goal took a lot out of my students and me personally.
The challenge required enough red ink to cover the Red Sea, clarifying the different usages of “affect” and “effect,” one-on-one therapy sessions encouraging students of their constant improvement, and making students believe they were going to be rock star writers.
Some teacher pick me ups along the way included: a pair of students winning non-ELA essay contests, students asking for one-on-one writing conferences with science fair projects when the realization that writing skills must transfer across multiple disciplines, and social studies teachers willing to collaborate on writing assignments across contents.
My peaking moment: I know there is still 2-3 months left of school (depending makeup snow days), but tomorrow my students are going to finish a similar task which they completed in sixth grade now as eighth graders. Fortunately, I taught about 80 percent of my students already in sixth grade and kept their work over the years. At the end of the assignment, they will get to see their final product and compare it to work from sixth grade and to work done at the beginning of eighth grade.
The anticipation of seeing how they reflect on their growth over the years is one I am looking forward to the most this year.