Slice of Life Day 26: It’s School, What Do You Expect?

11454297503_e27946e4ff_hDuring the month of March I am blogging daily with others in the Slice of Life Daily Challenge. Thank you  TaraAnnaDanaStacey,  Betsy  and Beth at Two Writing Teachers for providing and supporting this place to learn and grow. You can read more slices here.

Yesterday my students tried out the practice Smarter Balanced test for ELA. Today they continued working with partners. Discoveries were made.

Hands were raised, questions asked.

How do you do this? (asked when looking at an empty box where the multiple choice answers use to be)

Oh, I have to write it

I can’t highlight this. Is there a tool to highlight?.

How ‘s it going?

I wrote  my  thinking as I read. It helps when you go back to find evidence, you know where to look..

Sketching helps.

Planning your writing helps you figure out what you want to say.

Working with a partner helps me understand. Two brains working together is more powerful.

All of these comments could have been made during any other kind of reading or writing work.

After about a half hour we stopped and did a mini debate on whether testing stinks or is awesome.  I was surprised anyone stood on the it’s awesome side. Some started out in the middle. By the end, the girls were firmly on the it’s awesome side and the boys on the it stinks side. This division of boys versus girls is not typical with other issues. It usually is evenly distributed by gender. In this case it was striking and they commented on it.

It’s awesome                                                                                                                   It stinks.

You get to use iPads.

You could do other things, like blogging.

You get to write.

You can write  in other ways.

You get to show what you know.

It’s a test!

This is school what do you expect?!


The girls seemed to be looking to show their knowledge. The boys were clearly on the more inventive, non-conformist side of the room or as one girl said, the lazy side. The “what do you expect, it’s school” comment made everyone laugh. It was funny, but it also kind of stung when I thought about it..

So much effort goes into creating a safe place to question, to explore.  We look to  engage, to teach the love of reading,  writing, learning, thinking and all the joys that go with it. But in the end, is it just a test?  Do the student comments surprise you? Gender issues?

It’s school. What do you expect?