May 2007 Archives

Monday, June 4. Hopefully it won’t live in infamy. It is, however, the day I will take the big test. To continue preparing, I reviewed the comments colleagues have left on this blog or by email. I figured you might want to check them out, too, so they’re copied below. More words of wisdom welcome. By the way, excuse me for cannibalizing my own board to piece this entry together, but maybe others don't go back and read comments on every post as obsessively as I do. Also, I want to take this close-to-graduation moment to recognize that ...

On this beauteous spring day, I’m sitting here in the man zone (my basement office), looking up through a casement window at a bird’s nest in the eaves of my neighbor’s roof. I’m thinking about... well, you know. The testing window is open until June 15. I have to figure out when to shimmy through before it slams shut. I’m having a hard time getting psyched to go do it-- I wonder if anyone else out there is feeling the same sense of ennui? The assessment center seems anticlimactic, in a way, after the portfolio. ...

Let me set test prep aside to share some exciting news. The dugout canoe that my 10th graders have been working on all year is about to hit the water: we launch from the banks of Mount Vernon at 10 am on May 30. As well as being the centerpiece of our Humanities curriculum, loyal readers will recall that the canoe was a big part of Entry 4 in my portfolio. Most recently, I mentioned a spring break overnight where we cooked cobbler in dutch ovens on The Flaming Canoe as students scraped away with sharpened oyster shells (April 8,2007)....

I tried a practice prompt. On the advice of my loyal entry reader, Stephanie, I chose one related to English Language Learners. Those are the trickiest, she warns. The trial run, below, was based on a transcription and writing sample from a (probably Hispanic) student who had read Tom Sawyer. Instead of composing in word, I used an online simulation set up by Patrick Ledesma, an FCPS National Board coach, who’s set up a tri-pane display with a timer on the bottom to give you a feel for the real thing. I found that jumping from box to box ...


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