A Different Kind of Professional Development

As teachers we are regularly working on things that will teach the kids in the best way possible. I was honored to hear that the work that I am a part of through Teachers Pay Teachers is reaching so many teachers and students around the world, and that our work together is impacting education is amazing ways.

I’m used to going to frequent professional development opportunities, especially as an instructional coach. These opportunities are about education where I learn about new curriculum, teaching strategies, leadership methods, and more. The learning I gained from the recent TPT convention was quite different. Instead of learning about passive behaviors, I learned about “passive income”. Instead of setting goals for my students’ academic growth, I learned about setting productivity goals for my resources. Instead of thinking about pairing students, I learned the benefit of pairing font styles.

An area that I value is technology and its use in the classroom. As one of my building’s tech leads, I have a lot of resources to use and share with staff. My learning at the convention opened up new types of tech learning. For instance; podcasts. (I’ve known about them, but now I actually listen to them. Lol) Then there are programs for layouts, Pinterest schedulers (who knew?), new websites for more photos to use in my resources, and a lot of great tips for saving time in Power Point.

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One of the areas in which I look most forward to using my new learning is in the area of design. I will definitely need to look into using more photo images in my resources and marketing, to increase my understanding of and use of warm and cool colors for the best “feeling” to convey through the page, using the white space well, and then finding the best shades, patterns, and fonts to use together. It’s the creative aspects that I enjoy the most.

I’m only one of thousands of teachers working with Teachers Pay Teachers and we all want to provide teachers with great items. By coming together to share and learn about designing and selling curriculum, we can move forward to provide teachers with quality resources that they/you can use in classrooms and homes. If I can become more proficient in these areas that I mentioned above, then I believe that I’ll be able to offer educators more tools to make their jobs of teaching the kids easier. Who doesn’t want their job to be easier? I’m so glad that was able to gain this learning and that I am a part of impacting education for classrooms everywhere.

One Thousand Teachers Meet Up

Have you ever been in a room with over 1000 teachers? It’s noisy. It’s overwhelming. Its crowded. It’s friendly. It’s amazing!

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Teachers Pay Teachers convention this past week. I went with the confidence that I was going to meet lots of new people and learn a lot about the business of creating and selling teaching resources. I didn’t know just how many people I’d meet and how much I would learn. I loved both.

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     On the first evening there was to be a large meet-up in the convention hall. A few of us decided to meet in the hotel lobby beforehand and to walk over together. Four of us found each other. I met Kristy, Kerry, and Heather; each of us from different parts of the country. Kristy teaches first grade, Kerry has left the classroom but volunteers in classrooms now, Heather teaches deaf children in a school for the deaf and blind. And then there was me, an instructional coach. We were definitely a mixed group and that was good. Kristy, Kerry, and I ended up sticking together for most of the convention. We made a good trio. We plan to continue working together as a support group. We’ll chat about our work, hold each other accountable, edit each other’s resources, motivate, and encourage each other. I’m so glad to have this kind of collaborative team.

So off we 4 went to the meet-up. The event was a bit overwhelming. The girls and I were numbers 858, 859, 860, and 861 coming into the room. I know this because those were our numbers for the door prizes. There were still a good 200 people behind us in line too. It was crazy! (But good.). We mingled and greeted various teachers. Everyone was kind and full of excitement. No one even minded if they were asked to take a picture with you. It was great to start meeting people that I had only known through the TPT forums. Through out the room the energy of excitement was everywhere. Teachers were talking, meeting, greeting, and getting to know each other. The volume in the room was high which meant that we had to nearly shout to any one that stood just a foot or two away. In time, Kristy, Kerry and I tried to find a table to sit at. We eventually found a tall table for us to stand at. It helped to at least lean against something. We stayed there while the winning numbers for door prizes were called. The organizers had managed to get about $45,000 in prizes to give away! That also meant that a lot of people were going to win something. Since I rarely win anything, I took to people watching and cheering for those that did win. After quite awhile, perhaps an hour, Kerry said excitedly, “That’s you!” Shocked out of my daze, I listened again and heard “858”. That was my number! I squealed in delight. I actually won a door prize! If it hadn’t been for Kerry I would have missed it and they would have called another number. Thanks, Kerry!

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Here’s Kerry, my “prize saver”.

So I quickly made my way to the front like a Price is Right contestant. I was greeted by a teacher who was handing out the prizes. After receiving the bag of office goodies (cute post-it type notes, pens, stickers, organizers) and a great teacher’s planning book, they took my picture with other winners and I set off back to our table. From then, I continued to listen to the numbers hoping that Kerry and Kristy would win too. I time the drawings were through and we all walked away with something. You’ll have to ask Kerry and Kristy what we did with my prizes. (Wink) After 3 hours, our weary feet and overwhelmed heads told us it was time to go, not to mention that the emcee clued us in. We and the other 1000 teachers gathered our things and headed back to our hotels. That was the fantastic beginning of days learning with other teachers and the beginning of new friendships. I was excited for the following 2 days and I believed it would be terrific. Check back for more our learning and fun!

Daydream, Eat Fruit, and Play in Class

It’s standardized testing season.  Unlike Mother Nature’s seasons, this season is not looked forward to, especially by educators.  You can turn to just about any Facebook page, Twitter feed, or blog of an educator and find some negative comment about these high stakes tests.  Many are even going to their legislatures and those in charge to share their concerns and frustrations.  But I’m not here to write about all the things we dislike about standardized testing.

Instead, I’m writing about how we can help our students decompress from the intense, often very left-brained, thinking that comes from the hours of standardized testing in the classroom.  Though we may not like these tests, we know they are going to happen for now.  So, I’d like to share with you some activities that will engage the right-brained thinking as well as engaging students in kinesthetic and emotional de-stressors.  These can be used after the test is over or during those short breaks that the scripted Test Directions let us take.

  •  Daydream:  As your students finish their test or take their break, hand them a slip of paper that allows them to just dream.  You could give them a prompt such as, “Imagine that you are a superhero or unique animal.” or simply state, “Now is your time to dream.”  Let your students minds drift to something of delight for themselves.

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  •  Walk or skip around: Our brains need oxygen to think and when we walk or skip around, it forces us to increase our oxygen intake.  *The Director of Human Cognitive Neuroscience, Andrew Scholey, at the University of Northumbria in Newcastle, England states that a dose of oxygen or glucose can improve performance on tasks that require great mental effort,” In addition, exercise prompts the brain to create endorphins and these endorphins are natural mood enhancing hormones.
  •  Have a snack: First of all, know your students’ allergens and never offer food without consenting parents.  That being said, berries and oranges are full of vitamin C and can help to reduce stress.  Walnuts have been found to keep stress hormones in check.  Other ideas might be cheese sticks, celery, peanut butter, or other nuts.
  •  Eat Chocolate:  Studies have shown that eating chocolate, especially dark chocolate, reduces stress hormones.  The glucose may aid in the production of serotonin.  Serotonin is a brain chemical known to raise a person’s emotional state.
  •  Draw:  Drawing engages many parts of the right side of your brain.  It also helps to take your mind of the things that might be increasing your logical thinking.  When you are drawing you’re focused on the project in front of you and not on the hard work or problem solving.  Art increases relaxation, enjoyment, and positive thoughts.  To engage my students in this I’ve created a set of doodle and, what I call, creativity collage pages.  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Creativity-Engaging-Pages-1788366

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  •  Chat about anything but the test:  During these standardized tests, our students are not allowed to talk.  They sit for hours in silence expect to perhaps say, “I’m done.” Or “Can I go to the bathroom?”  When your students are on a break or the whole class is finished, let them chat.  But there should be one rule:  No talking about the test.  Not only is that a rule of these secure tests, but getting your students to talk about anything else is better for their break from the intense thinking involved throughout the testing period.
  •  Deep breathing exercises:  You’ve probably heard this one a lot.  In fact, you might just be one who uses this regularly.  But it bodes well to include it here because it is so beneficial and regularly agreed upon as a stress reducer.  (See notes above about getting oxygen to the brain.)
  •  Watch a funny movie:  I know this one won’t work in many classrooms as there are regulations about movies in the classroom, but try watching a funny clip or short movie.   I’ve included some funny snippets here but I’m sure you have some favorites of your own that would be appropriate for your classroom.: http://boredshorts.tv/; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8N_tupPBtWQ  (Mahna Mahna);  http://www.wimp.com/funny/needwater/  ; http://www.wimp.com/funny/mariojumping/ ;
  •  Play a game:  There are so many great games out there.  A quick game of tic-tac-toe, to good ol’ Heads Up 7 Up, or other games you play with your students can definitely break up the intensity of testing days.

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  •  Dance: Dance has been proven to be a great energizer and renewer of spirits.  Not to mention how the kids love to laugh at our crazy “teacher moves”.  Many of my colleagues are using www.gonoodle.com for some terrific brain breaks.  The kids have a lot of fun.
  •  Play:  Get out the Playdoh™, Legos ™, or bubbles.  I wouldn’t use these until all the class is finished, as I don’t want kids to finish early just so that they can play with the cool stuff on the table, but what a great way to end the day.

For many of us, the standardized tests are here and we have to get our students through them.  There will be a lot of left-brain thinking, problem solving, text synthesizing, and the increased depth of knowledge questions being answered.  Some students (and teachers ) will take it in stride and others will stress.  Let’s give our classrooms something positive to take away from the testing season.  Maybe the season won’t be as obnoxious as its reputation.

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/studies-show-glucose-oxygen-brain/story?id=117530

Little Red Riding Hood Has a Change

I was so excited to pop into a colleague’s classroom today and see a piece of my Lil’ Red Riding Hood resource being used with her students.  I have to give her complete credit because if it weren’t for her I might not have created the resource.  She was planning on using folk tales and fairytales in her literacy lessons.  She had a few texts, but wanted to do more with them that just read them aloud.  We had been discussing her plans when I offered to make something specific to the alternate Lil’ Red Riding Hood tale that she had in her curriculum and was looking to use.  I spent much of my Christmas break creating the item and delivered the lesson plans to her upon our return.  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Little-Red-Riding-Hood-for-Second-Grade-Classrooms-1625612

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One of the elements of the resource is a writing page that allows the students to change elements of the story such as the setting, the food she brings to Grandma, the character she meets on the way, and how these characters respond to each other.  It’s a cloze passage and creates a writing piece that even our challenged students can find success.  My colleague had told me that she had used it and that the students really liked writing their own stories.  She also invited me to come in and see what they created.  I looked forward to it.

Well, today I got to read those pieces.  How fun!  They had Lil’ Red in Mexico with pizza, in Seattle with cereal, and more.  Below, you’ll see some of the ones that I had time to take a few pictures of.

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Not only do I enjoy reading their cute stories, but I’m incredibly honored that my colleague found my work purposeful, fun, and valuable enough to use it in her lessons; not to mention that she liked the results and is now showing them off in her classroom.

Now she’s requesting sets for the Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks, and for Cinderella.  Guess what I’m working on during my spring break.  Yea!

Can He Stop Hitting?

“B— is doing so much better!”  Those were the exciting words I heard this afternoon when I visited in one of our preschool classrooms.  But better at what?  Counting? Learning his shapes and colors?  Learning the letters? What?!  Well, it is more than academics and quite a joy for his teacher.

Flashback to September:

I sit with my colleague who teaches preschool.   She is not only new to our school, but new to the profession.  She has taken on two  ½ day classes of 3 and 4 year olds; half of whom are “model” students for the other half that have qualified for special education services due to being diagnosed with autism, down syndrome, or developmental delays.  It’s only the first week of school and she is showing the anxiety on her face as she tells me about the little boy we’ll call “B”.

She is receiving regular comments from families telling her about how their children are afraid of “B” and how they don’t want to come to school.  “B” gets into their personal space and stares at them intently; thriving on their reaction, especially two particular boys.  In addition to this power play with his classmates, he has bitten my colleague more than once.

As she continues to talk, she shows me the beginnings of a pile of paperwork that she is planning on filling out regarding his behaviors.  She just doesn’t know what to do.  She asks about how she can protect the other kids, change their feelings about coming to school, change his behavior, and deal with all of the special needs that her students have.  I don’t think she knows what she has gotten herself into.

I ask more questions to hopefully guide her towards coming up with her own ideas and solutions.  But I quickly realize that her hypothetical toolbox of teaching tools is nearly empty due to lack of experience.  I don’t blame her or judge her.  I remember being at a loss in my first months on the job too, even though I thought I was very prepared.  So, I offer some suggestions; including calling the special education director for specific help in regards to managing children with autism, as this is not a forte of mine.  I promise to come in the next day to support her and see how I might better coach her as we move forward.

Cut to a few weeks later:  My colleague has new problems to add to her concern about “B”.  He’s running around the room and won’t sit on the carpet, let alone stay there during lessons.  He’s still intimidating the other children and biting.  She’s tried kneeling down and talking to him but he just runs away.  Don’t even think about putting him in time-out. After communicating with the special education director, my colleague has enrolled in the annual physical restraint and seclusion training that every special education teacher must participate in.  (http://www.specialed.us/S&R/S&R-FAQ.html )  For now, we’ve decided to assign “B” a special spot on the class carpet, provide him a carpet square (much like a sample piece that you can get from carpet stores), and ask her para-educator to keep a special eye on “B” to see if we can at least keep him in the area of the group during lessons.  I’ve also committed to providing her with pictures of children sitting on the floor so that her students can see what her expectations are.  Let’s start filling her toolbox.

Young Girl Sitting In Studio   Young Boy Sitting In Studio

It’s December now and my colleague is using the images of children sitting on the floor, as well as a few other images of her expectations. “B” has taken ownership of the special carpet square that now has his name taped across the top. My colleague has liked this idea so much that she has assigned special carpet spots to a few others as well.   Yea!  I’m happy to see that “B” likes his spot and he’s with the class…but he still isn’t staying in one spot.    Now, little mister “B” likes to take that carpet square and move around several times during a lesson to nearly sitting on his various classmates.  They ask him to stop or to move, but he just loves that he’s bugging them.  He doesn’t respond to my redirection either.  Ugh.  To make things even more challenging, my colleague has gained a few more children in her classes and they are all students with IEP’s (Individual Educational Plans).  She has students who push and punch, who get into everything, run around, climb on tables, and throw things.  Yes, those are typical preschool behaviors, but she has it to the extreme and has little help in the afternoons to manage and teach the 18 students.   Though she’s seeing progress with “B” she’s feeling overwhelmed by the work and the pressure to manage it all.

It’s my job as an instructional coach to be a guide on the side and not to directly tell teachers how to do their jobs.  I do a lot of listening and questioning.  Often, the coachees can come to a realization of what they need to do or try.  Sometimes I offer suggestions and I hope to be their support and encourager.  I won’t give up on my colleague or “B”.

Now, I have taught preschool, but it’s been over 25 years ago and I didn’t have any special education students.  I have a full toolbox of things to try with our special education students, but this little kiddo has got me challenged for effective ideas that will keep him and the other children safe and learning.  I think it’s time to call on our current and seasoned special education preschool teachers.

So now it’s February.  My colleague and I have visited a couple of other preschool classrooms that have similar demographics.  There is so much great stuff going on in other teachers’ worlds and if you have the opportunity I highly recommend visiting other teachers within your area of teaching to see what you might glean from their work.  I know I gained a lot from this time.  I kept thinking, “Why didn’t I think of that when I taught preschool?”  and “I wish I had known that back then.”  My colleague took several ideas that she saw and has made them work for her.  It’s so neat to see the growth in her students and in her teaching since then.

But what about “B”?  Well, he’s growing too.  He’s sitting longer on his carpet square and he’s engaging in the lessons more.  But he’s still hitting.  It’s gotten to a point where his teacher is not only concerned about protecting the other kids but she is reaching a point of sheer frustration.  She’s just to her limit with the hitting thing.  I don’t blame her.  It’s been going on for several months and it doesn’t seem to be better.

And then, we meet in March.  We talk about the changes that she’s made and how they are going.  We talk about how much easier the changes have made her days.  She’s happier.  She loves these kids and she truly shows increased confidence.  But yet…”B” remains a high focus.  As we talk about the things that have worked with him, and try to get to the real reason why he’s acting out the way he does, I think back to one of the teachers in the preschool rooms that we visited.  She had a ring of small images attached to her lanyard.  They are specific pictures that she uses to help her non-verbal students communicate.  She can provide them to students at the drop of a hat.  Then it hits me!  Why not use that with “B”?  Since talking to him doesn’t work, and being more assertive hasn’t helped, let’s go to non-verbals and peaceful communication.

So I suggest to my colleague that she make up a ring of images showing the things that she wants and doesn’t want for “B”.  For instance, when he hits, she would take the picture of safe hands and show it to him with a short statement like. “We have safe hands in our school.” Or if he becomes intimidating we show him a picture of a peaceful face and tell him that we “are nice to others.”  I know, some of you might be saying, “Duh.”  But for us, it was something that we hadn’t done.  We knew that he had eventually learned how to sit on the carpet due to the image of a child sitting and lessons that supported that image and expectation.  We knew that he liked videos and had begun to respond to other visual clues.  Before I left, my colleague was already selecting the images that she would use.  That was Friday.

Today is Tuesday.  She has tried the behavior images for only 2 days.  I walked into her classroom this afternoon and “B” was quietly playing by himself at the building blocks center.  I sat with her at a table while she taught a small group of students.  As she finished and the students were putting some things into a bag she was holding, she said, “B— is doing so much better!”  She told me about how he had started hitting and she showed him the behavior image.  He stopped.  He focused on her words and even walked to the time out spot with her!  He didn’t sit in the time out chair, but they did count to ten together before he returned to play.  Since then, he hasn’t hit nearly as often and things are beginning to settle down in her classroom.

I’ll admit that I cheered audibly.  It was great news!  We know this may only work for a while, but it worked!  He is learning and understanding.  My colleague is happier.  She is building her confidence and filling her toolbox.  We take the little successes one day at a time and hope they continue.  It had been a long time and it was very rewarding to see success.

I’m so glad we believed in this child and the kept trying different approaches to meet his needs.  He still has challenges but he is growing and learning, and for a teacher, that’s what we want most of all.  Hurray for “B”!  Hurray for my colleague!!  I’m excited to see what we can accomplish next.

Lessons from the Iditarod

Each year, I love to follow the Alaskan sled dog race, the Iditarod.  When I lived in Anchorage, Alaska I took it for granted.  Each winter, at the end of the annual Fur Rendezvous festival, we knew that the race would start from downtown and that we’d hear daily updates on the radio and the TV’s evening news.  As a student, we didn’t take any time out of class to study the history or use the race as a tool for learning.  It was just a race that happened each year, much like the local sprint dog sled races that occurred around town.  It was more of an interest for tourists or to the Chichakos ( new to Alaska residents).

Now, as I live and teach in the lower 48 (the 48 contiguous states), I think of the Iditarod as such an amazing teaching tool.  I think my childhood school teachers really missed out on a great opportunity.  Even though the race seemed old-hat, so to speak, there were still such elements that would likely have engaged us, the students, in learning more about our own history, culture, and geography.  Not to mention connecting our classroom learning of the 3 R’s to real life.

But I can’t go back to my past and ask my teachers to teach us more about this unique event.  Instead I’ll bring it to my classroom and seek to engage my students in their learning via this special race.

For  several years now, I’ve integrated the Iditarod into our writing, math, grammar, spelling, and reading.  Each year, I added more elements.  (See my product at  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Iditarod-Unit-Activities-and-Printables-2015-543433. )   I was especially excited about 5 years ago when I was able to incorporate technology by using the Iditarod website where my students tracked a musher, watched video, learned vocabulary, and viewed images.

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     Well, this year has offered a few more lessons that I can use as further learning opportunities, especially in the area of social and emotional learning.  For instance, on Tuesday, March 10, 2015, Brent Sass, a contender for winning the race and the current champion of the Yukon Quest, was disqualified due to having a device that was capable of 2-way communication.  (http://iditarod.com/resources/press-media/)  He had a iPod Touch that he had used for listening to music and watching movies.  The Iditarod, after all, is a 1100+ mile race and having some sort of entertainment on those long stretches between checkpoints can be very helpful.

     Shortly after this Yukon Quest winner learned of the disqualification decision, he gave a video interview where he took full responsibility for his mistake.  He spoke of how he didn’t even think about using the 2-way communication capability when he decided to bring it along.  He had been able to have it on the Yukon Quest since they allow mushers to use Wi-Fi at checkpoints to update their blogs or websites. (http://www.yukonquest.com/news/clarification-regarding-yukon-quest-rules-two-way-communication-trail)  Brent also spoke of how he didn’t hadn’t and would “never use it as a 2-way device” in this race.  But knowing that the rules were solid, he accepted the consequences, no matter how difficult it was to swallow.   Brent offered an apology to his fellow mushers, his fans and family, and especially to his dogs for letting them down.  He called it a “stupid mistake”.  He could have blamed others, argued with the judges, and/or protested the disqualification when he knew he had no intentions of breaking the rules.  But he didn’t.

     This real life problem offered a teachable moment.  Though I felt really bad for Brent, my students can learn a social/emotional lesson about unfortunate consequences and how to respond to them.  They can learn about following and breaking rules.  We can have an open discussion about choices and whether we felt the consequences were appropriate.

     But that wasn’t the end of the lessons that this year’s race could provide.  The following day, a race favorite, Lance Mackey, shared a heart wrenching self-realization.

     Lance is a four time, back-to-back, Iditarod champion, with two of those wins coming off of winning the Yukon Quest.  He loves the sport and has been involved in mushing and the Iditarod since he was a child.  His father was one of the founding mushers and early winners of the race, and his older brother has also won the race. Last year, Lance did not participate in the Iditarod due to health issues.  In 2001, Lance was diagnosed with throat cancer and went through surgery and chemotherapy.  But that didn’t stop him.  He continued to race, manage his kennel, and take excellent care of his dogs.  But after years of health battles, Lance is struggling.

     In a video interview given at the Tanana checkpoint, Lance shows his swollen, numb, and stiffened hands.  The weather has been extremely cold with temperatures as low as -50 degrees Fahrenheit.  He tells the interviewer that he can’t feel his hands and that it feels like his fingernails are “being pushed off”.  He decides to stay in Nenana until he could take care of his dogs right, since, at that time, he is unable to put booties on the dog’s feet.  As he chokes up he goes on to say “My brother’s gonna run with me.”  Lance’s brother, Jason, is also running the race.  Lance goes on and says, “I’m messing up his race so he can boot up my dogs.”  Lance wants to get to Nome.

        But that’s not the end.  As Lance continues to talk about his hands he comes to the realization that this may be the end, and not just the end of Iditarod 2015, for him.  He tearfully states, “I can’t do this anymore.”

     The reality brings another teachable moment.  I’ll ask my students, “What does it mean to sacrifice?  Who is sacrificing more?  Is it worth it?  Why or why not?  Would you keep going or quit?” and more.  These are all questions worth asking.  This real life struggle can teach the students about perseverance, empathy, sacrifice, making tough decisions, and what it means to see the end of a dream.

     As I’ve used the Iditarod for engagement in academics, and inspiration toward perseverance and teamwork, this year’s race brings lessons that may last longer that a day or two.  As I write this, the race is at the half-way point for many mushers.  I plan to look for other inspiring lessons as the race continues this year and every year following.  I admire the mushers and I hope that my students will take away some deep, and important lessons from them and the race itself.  It is an amazing opportunity and I’m so glad to be able to bring it to my students.

Getting Ready for THAT Test

 

In addition to my role as the Instructional Coach at my school, I am also the assessment coordinator.  This role of Assessment Coordinator is my choice and is in addition to my full-time contracted hours as the Instructional Coach.  I’m responsible for coordinating the state test, our quarterly benchmark assessments, and the ELL assessments for our building.

So as we enter the big testing season, I am crazy busy.  (Our main testing season begins in February and end just before June.) Things have definitely changed in regards to my responsibilities, especially when it comes to coordinating our state test for our building.  In the past, I simply helped to make the schedule, went through the proctor training of staff, handed out materials and locked them up when not in use, inventoried said materials, and sent them back to our district office to be sent to the state evaluators.  That probably took me about 12 hours in total.  Not too bad.  Well…those days are gone.

Our state testing of SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium) doesn’t start until the end of March and I’ve already put in about 15 hours, 5 of which were just today.  I’ve been to trainings, participated in webinars, helped to create the very tight schedule, made all of the class rosters for the classes testing, worked with our IT guy to make sure our computer lab is ready, provided staff development several times, and more.  Today, I spent about 5 hours making cards with each student’s individual log-in with a copy for the principal, the teachers, and myself.  I probably could have completed it in about 3 hours but I had technology issues in the morning.  Ugh.  All that, and I’m still not done.

In my future, I still have to input the accommodations for all students with IEP’s or 504’s.   I need to manage the cart of laptops that we will be borrowing from out IT department.   Then there is the proctor training that I will provide.  I know there are other elements that I will need to deal with too, especially when the testing actually starts, but right now I’m just focused on the prep.  So I can see an additional 4-5 hours (I estimate) of testing coordination coming up.  I can only imagine the hours that I’ll be running around supporting the classrooms during the test.

Many of the Instructional Coaches in my school district are also Assessment Coordinators; whereas other schools have classroom teachers take the role. I don’t know how classroom teachers will do it all. I have a more flexible schedule than the classroom teachers, so I can drop something and go take care of an issue that arises. A classroom teacher simply can’t do that. Then, there is the abundant number of things to take care of outside of their daily classroom responsibilities. Classroom teachers already take work home. This would just double that workload.

All this to say: I hope my school district takes into account the hours upon hours that we coordinators devote to making these assessments run smoothly in our buildings. In my opinion, this should be a part-time job or even a full time job if the person was responsible for two schools perhaps. But for now, I’ll keep setting things up and doing the best I can for our teachers and students.

For right now…I’m going to get some chocolate. J