Things have been crazy around here in good and bad ways. I've had state testing, progress reports, PLP projects, trying to select elementary social studies resources, and big changes and stressful times at work. It hasn't left much time or interest for blogging. The past few weeks when I've come home I've just wanted to put all of that out of my mind. But I'm ready to get back to it, and I have two things that I really want to share from the past few weeks.
Amazingly, it was already the end of the marking period, and I had the opportunity to reflect back with my students about their writing. Once again I had the same positive experience reading their work while I was completing their progress reports, and they did show growth. But I found that they did not make as much growth as they did last marking period. I attribute this to two things. First, we took two days a week away from our writing instruction to do a double period of math class. It was necessary to finish all of the math anchors before the magical test date, but I do believe it impacted my students' growth in writing. The other issue is that we spent approximately 5 weeks doing test prep and taking the actual assessments. When everything shuts down until all students complete the test, you can't work in any instruction or practice. It's obvious to me that my students didn't grow as much as they did in the 2nd marking period simply because we didn't have as much instructional time.
My other news is definitely more positive. As an elementary teacher I don't often have the chance to keep in touch with my former students through high school and college. Among the small group with whom I have kept contact there are two brothers I've remained close to. The older brother has been talking about buying a pizza truck and starting his own business for years, and his plans finally came to fruition on April 1. He, along with his brother and 2 friends, have opened University of Pizza and are doing business on the main street in town.
On Saturday my husband and I had the opportunity to stop by and give their food a try. Let me tell you, it was DELICIOUS and well priced. Even better than the pizza was seeing my four former students. While I don't have children of my own, I know what I felt on Saturday is exactly what a proud mom feels when her kids do something amazing. I am so proud of these boys, and I feel honored to know that I played just a very small role in what I'm sure will be a successful enterprise. Talking with these guys was exactly what I needed, during these very trying times, to remind exactly why I am a teacher: it is all about the kids.