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Approximately 480 minutes of my life over the last couple of weeks has been circulating a room while students took their standardized tests. I not only accumulated approximately 20,000 steps, I had many random thoughts. Here are some of them:

Exercise

  • Does circulating a room in a regular circle or a zig-zag pattern give more steps in one lap? (Zig-zag.)
  • What ways could I get extra exercise while circulating and not being distracting?
    • Answers: Toe raises/calf raises, squats, glut squeezes, wall sit, standing crunches, seated leg raises, standing leg curl, lunges, and I’m sure there are more!
  • Do I get more steps on testing days than on normal days now that we have Lanschool to monitor computers instead of having to circulate our rooms as much? (Yes.)

Technology

  • Since the world is so technologically embedded, is testing students on a computer the best even though some studies have found that reading paper-based texts is still more efficient?
  • Are these studies ignoring the future? Isn’t it counter productive to focus on how the past may have been better when the world is moving in a forward, not a backwards, direction?
  • Instead of saying that one-on-one or technology isn’t as good as ____, couldn’t we instead just teach students how to use new tools as well as we were taught to use the old? For example, there are many complaints about kids not knowing how to take notes; why don’t we teach them? Or kids not knowing how to research; why don’t we teach them? We were taught to do those things. Just because kids are technology natives doesn’t mean they don’t need to be taught the best ways to use the tools.

Change

  • So many adults say things about “kids these days,” but weren’t we “kids these days” at some point? Doesn’t every generation complain about the changes in the next generation?
  • Isn’t change what makes the world get better?
  • Just because things are done differently doesn’t mean they are bad.
  • For example, the SAT is now more text-based instead of random vocabulary and analogies–that is pretty awesome! And I wish it was like that when I took it.
  • Some change isn’t necessary though. Was our education system so bad when I went through it? The push for “rigor” is so intense now pushing kids into AP classes as early as 8th grade, but I feel like that takes away the growing up part and doesn’t give kids the foundation needed to be successful.
  • And what happened to kids having the chance to be kids?!

Disney

  • The Little Mermaid came out when I was 7 which was 29 years ago. Hundred and One Dalmations came out about 28 years before The Little Mermaid, so how old 101 Dalmations seemed to me is how old The Little Mermaid seems to them.
  • Frozen came out when these kids were 7. Elsa and Anna are their Ariel. These girls had princesses that were pretty kick butt to look up to their whole life while Ariel changed EVERYTHING about her for a man.
  • Or it could be looked at as Ariel had a dream and wouldn’t give up until she attained it and wouldn’t let others tell her she couldn’t do it.
  • Belle changed Disney princesses though. Except for Pocahontas, ever since Beauty and the Beast, the princesses are more than just someone looking for a man.
  • Was the book that Belle was reading during the song “Belle” her own story and the song writers were putting in dramatic irony for the audience?

Science and Pop Culture

  • If we now know that dinosaurs are more related to birds than reptiles and it is pretty common-scientific knowledge, why hasn’t the look of dinosaurs in pop culture changed? For example, a new Jurassic Park is coming out, but the dinosaurs still look like how we thought they looked before.
  • Though I do know that it takes a very long time for pop culture to catch up with science. For example, Curious George is still called a monkey even though in the 1940s or so the distinction between apes and monkeys were found, and scientifically I think everyone would agree that he is an ape.
  • Monkeys and apes are different animals and people can just not figure out the difference. We don’t get pachyderms or canines or felines or other groups of animals confused, why do we get primates confused?
  • But I wish big companies and movies wouldn’t help spread the ignorance. For example, Coca-Cola should be ashamed of themselves for spreading the ignorance that penguins and polar bears live in the same area. (P.S. They don’t! Not even the same hemisphere!)
  • This must be how Neil Degrasse Tyson feels about, well, everything.

What random thoughts do you have while monitoring testing (or any other time)? 

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2 Responses to Teaching Tuesday: Random Thoughts From a Teacher Circulating During Testing

  1. […] Tuesday: Teaching Tuesday: Random Thoughts (on Exercise, Technology, Change, Disney, and Science &am… […]

  2. This is such a delightful post to read! I enjoyed every section, and laughed out loud a couple of times. I am sorry that you (and your students) had to waste so much precious learning time on testing, but you did get a very engaging blog post out of it!

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