Monday, January 14, 2013

Why Haven't You Posted?

So you may have noticed that I haven't posted in awhile, or you may not have since I don't have that many followers--yet.

The person who definitely noticed was my husband (shout-out to my very first follower!).  He keeps reminding me that I haven't blogged in a while, as if I didn't know.  I know better than anyone that this feed has remained blank, so why don't I just do it already?  The simple answer is writers block.

Sometimes the ideas are just not flowing.  My assignment seems simple, write a few paragraphs about teaching or learning, or learning to teach, and press 'publish.'

Thinking about this prohibitive writers block sent me straight back to high school.  In high school I had on average an essay a week that I needed to write. Sometimes the ideas just flowed out of me and sometimes they did not.  As a teacher I still think about that student who is struggling to express herself through my assignment.  How can I achieve a true level of authenticity in my assessment of my students?

I want to know if my entire class has read and understood the novel we just finished, so I assign an essay.  This sounds pretty typical, but is there a better way?  There will always be the student who has read and understood the piece but just cannot get motivated to write about it.  So for her, what am I truly assessing with this assignment?  Does a different assignment assess my goals for her more accurately?

In schools we tread the line between real life learning and a false construct of the classroom.  We want our students to be responsible, motivated and have followthrough even when they are not feeling 'it' but on the other hand we don't want students to complete an assignment purely because 'I said so.'

As I struggle with the ideas of alternative assessments, choices, and authentic accountability I am constantly asking myself "How will my students use this skill in their real lives."  I don't want my classroom to be something my students have to navigate purely because I have set up goals and expectations for them.  I want my students to take everything they have learned in my class and bring it to the real world.

So I ask myself, how can I teach my students to get over their own 'writer's block' without forcing them to write a piece merely to please me?

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