Thursday, April 23, 2015

Why I Made My Daughter Take the PARCC Exam

I have never been sky diving.  So, if I was to argue about the potential harm from sky diving, the emotional effects it has on a person, the dangers inherent in it, and how stupid you would have to be to even try it, then I would be highly criticized by those who endorse sky diving, and justifiably so.  I would be arguing from a point of view based on ignorance of the actual activity. That's why I had my daughter take the PARCC test this year, because I can't argue against something without actually seeing what it is. 

To set the stage, I left my teaching position in December, so I have not had the full-year PARCC experience that many teachers have had. Instead, I've had the parent experience, "living vicariously" through my daughter's experience with the test. I had heard all the arguments about how off base the test was for level appropriateness, but I hadn't seen the test or the results of that test compared to the level I know my daughter is at, both from former testing and day to day working with her on homework.

So, I opted her in for testing.

Granted, my daughter is not a innocent first year tester in third grade. She will not crumble when being asked to describe the author’s meaning divined from a poem meant for sixth graders.  Nor is she a hard core willfully defiant renegade who would sleep through the majority of testing and try to see how many ways she could annoy the proctor during the 2 hour exam.  She’s a strong, independent, hard-working eighth grader who is proud of her accomplishments, and wants to make others proud as well. Yet she knows enough about herself to not wither under someone else’s glare.  I knew I could send her into testing and receive back a happy, healthy child who was still confident that she was smart, and that the test was ridiculous.  What surprised me most is how little she actually even thought about the test and the questions it asked.  She never once questioned herself or got in the car quizzical about the day’s testing.  She simply took the test and went on with her life, being the happy and healthy 14 year old that I love.

Besides our discussions about the test and the questions that were asked, the other reason I opted my child into the test is for the results we will get back in the next few months.  I am expecting them to come back and say that my child is wildly unprepared for the next grade and for life, when I know that to be untrue.  If this happens, it will give me yet another leg to stand on when I go to argue the lack of validity in the PARCC test and the reason it should be removed from our schools.  Having hard results in my hand for comparison’s sake will make arguments that much easier and stronger than having a 0 because I opted my child out of testing.

It will be an interesting fall and an interesting follow up to this discussion when the results are finally released, but I’m glad I chose to make my child take the PARCC test so that I can walk into a discussion with hard proof to back up my arguments when I decide to discuss the harmful and misguided PARCC exam.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A Winning Team Yields a Winning Opportunity

I know my blog name is The Colorado Classroom, so I must be from or at least in Colorado, but what you might not know is that I lived in Wisconsin for ten years of my most formidable years.  So when the NCAA championship came down to Wisconsin versus Duke, you can bet I was going for the Badgers of Wisconsin.

Well as we all know now, Duke won - AGAIN.  And even though I'm bummed about the deal, the fact that we have a winner, yields you a winning opportunity.

The Tools for Teaching Teens group that I am a part of ran a tournament of products to coincide with the big dance and now that they have a winner, so do we.  And our big winner, our Duke bundle, is six products, absolutely free.

You'll get
Colorado Classroom's (that's me) Parent and Student Communication Bundle of Forms
History Gal's Printable Greek Gods
Technology Integration Depot's Ancient Rome Bingo
Middle School Math Moment's Decimal Division Color by Number
Leah Cleary's Fall of Rome
Math Giraffe's Triangle Classification

To go along with this, on Wednesday, April 8th, and Thursday, April 9th, all 6 of us are running a sale in our stores.  In my store you can get 20% off, even on bundles.

 Just click here to download the Duke bundle and go shopping, but hurry, because after the 9th, the Duke bundle will be gone for good.

Although, if you miss it, we will still have our March Mayhem of free products available for download.  Which you can always get here.

And lastly, be sure to visit the Tools for Teaching Teens Pinterest board for more ideas and resources on how to teach teens.

Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Currently it's April

I'm back to link up with Farley for Currently again. :)

I hope you enjoy reading what I'm up to this month.

I love, LOVE, L.O.V.E. Garth Brooks!  So I am enjoying some Garth this Saturday morning as I type this.  I recently went to three of his concerts when he came to Denver on his world tour and it was incredible.  Even though he hasn't toured in 17 years, he still has it.

My husband and I just purchased a Sleep Number bed with all the bells and whistles.  They have a 25 year warranty, so we figure we will be going into a nursing home or dead by the time we need another bed so we might as well make sure we have a good one.  I am loving the massage feature, and the fact that the head and feet move up and down, and of course the Sleep IQ, which tells you if you had a good night's sleep and how well you slept.

Lately my mind has been racing ahead to the summer and all I want to accomplish, wishing I could do it right now.  I need to slow down and savor the moments and work on what I can, when I can.

I am having a blog designed by Kristybear Designs and I am eager to have it done and installed.  Hopefully it will be done before Currently in May comes around.

The only thing I need right now is more time with my hubby.  He commutes over an hour to work each way and puts in usually 9-10 hour days, so we have very limited time together as it is.  On top of that he has been working on work stuff most nights and weekends, so he is usually occupied and/or very distracted.  I know he is doing it all for the family, but I miss him and our time together.

I figured my name and my blog/store name are easy enough to figure out, so the only name to explain is my husband's last name - Naujok.  His family comes from Prussia.  Prussia used to be between Germany and Russia.  The family escaped during WW2 and came to America.  It's quite a remarkable story, but that's for another day.  So we say that Naujok is Prussian.  However, I took an Arctic Geography class in college when getting my social studies degree and my professor told me that there is a famous Inuit artist with the same last name.  So whether from east-central Europe or the Arctic, our last name is Naujok and you pronounce it like "Now Look" but change the "L" to a "Y" for "Now Yook"

So that's my April, or at least the start of my April.  I hope you enjoyed it and I hope you return for my next post in the Colorado Classroom.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

My Favorite Things...About Working from Home

It's a new month and the first of the month, so I am linking up with The Teaching Trio for their Favorite Things Linky.

My favorite things this month are all about how great it is to get to work from home.  My doctor ordered a break from my teaching job in October and in December I decided I was going to stay at home and make TpT my thing, and it has been heavenly.  So here are just three of my favorite things about getting to work at home.

I enjoy looking at my wall of inspiration and motivation, which is right above my computer, every time I have a lull in my creativity, doubt myself, or need a swift kick in the pants.  The pictures of my loved ones remind me of why I am working so hard and who I am trying to make happy.  While the motivational quotes and sayings sometimes give me that breath of new life I so desperately need.  I also have my own milestone board where I post my accomplishments, so I can see how far I have come and what I have achieved when that first TpT milestone seems SO FAR away.

Even though they drive my husband crazy, I love the companionship of our two dogs throughout the day.  Collin, the chihuahua, and Peyton, the bulldog, alert me to visitors, warm my toes in winter, give me someone(thing) to talk to when I'm going a bit stir crazy, provide comic relief, and so much more.  Plus they are just dang adorable.  Now don't ask me about the cats...I've discovered I'm not as much of a cat person as I thought I was.

Finally I just enjoy the ease and luxury of getting to do chores on my time, rather than squishing everything into the weekend.  Whether it's grocery shopping in the middle of the day or doing one load of laundry each day instead of all of it at once, it's simply heavenly to answer the question, "What's the plan for this weekend?" with "Nothing."  As so many teachers know too well, we used to spend our entire Saturday on chores and errands with little time left to relax or enjoy the weekend.  I just love being able to give that time back to my husband now and tell him we have no obligations, unless of course, I can convince him to tackle something on the "Honey-do" list. ;)

Of course that only covers just a small sliver of why I love working from home, I could fill a book.  However, you should head over to the Teaching Trio and tell us all about your three favorite things too. I can't wait to read it.