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Sunday, April 26, 2009

TAKS Awareness

One of the tips in Darren's 31 Days to a Better Blog over at Problogger is to create a "Sneeze page," so named because it serves to hold a Kleenex up to your best posts. No wait, it's actually called sneeze because it sends readers throughout the archives of your blog.

Since I am an elementary school teacher in Texas, I thought I'd create a sneeze page that listed all of my posts related to our dreaded standardized test, the TAKS.

So, in no particular order, here are some of my best posts related to our friend, the TAKS man...

The Top 10 Rejected Meanings of TAKS -- This was a guest post over at So You Want To Teach. It's a list of phrases that TAKS ALMOST stood for. I left my favorite for number 1 -- This Assessment Kinda Sucks.

A Massive Coverup -- One of the ridiculous hoops we have to jump through every year before the test is covering everything on our walls and in the hallway. I wrote a letter (and of course never really sent it), telling the district that I couldn't possibly comply due to certain complications. Read it, I think you'll enjoy it.

What are We Really Testing Here? -- A TAKS test is a reading test, plain and simple. Sure, some of them have a math bent or a science bent, but first and foremost, they are a reading assessment. Is that fair??

Practice Like You Play -- You wouldn't bang the keys with your elbows at a piano recital after practicing the right way for so long, so why wouldn't you do the strategies on the TAKS that we've practiced in class for so long? This is my never-ending question to my kids year after year. Also a source of much frustration.

The Million Dollar Test -- This is a short story I wrote about a group of kids who are offered a Decent Proposal. An eccentric billionaire offers 1 million dollars (cue evil laugh) to anyone who can achieve a perfect score on the TAKS. It went over pretty well when I read it to my kids in class.

Testivus -- taken from the classic Seinfeld episode Festivus, of which the "Airing of Grievances" was an integral part, this post is a major rant against the current state of our testing. But there are also some suggestions presented, lest anyone think I'm merely whining.

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