Testing is not the Point

So when our school is doing something I’m especially proud of, I call our local paper.  Seems like a sensible thing to do.

We’ve been pursuing The Noyce Foundation’s Problem of the Month this year. We’re on #4. It’s a great school-wide conversation about math and problem solving from K to 6th grade. For teachers and students.  It’s awesome.

Over the year it’s evolved from our start with a Math Lunch for kids who wants to talk POM. I hosted with a fifth grade teacher. The problem is competing with a gorgeous day.  The next version was a Gallery Walk of student work–better. Then I added a few (three) math activities tied to the POM for students to do during the Gallery Walk.  I encouraged buddy classes to visit together to inspire conversation. 

During the latter two POMs, I asked students for feedback–honest is always best. They could drop an object into a bucket.  The choices were I loved POM, I liked POM or I didn’t like POM.  The last Gallery Walk and Math Morning included optional written feedback-interesting.

For our final POM of the year, we’ll stick with the last model–math to see and math to do.

So back to the local newspaper. In my effort to help the reporter know a bit about contemporary standards and the obligatory testing that comes with standards, I gave him the impression that our Problem of the Month is about testing. So unfortunate. State testing is the farthest thing from my mind when I host this event.

I eavesdrop on student conversations.  I watch teachers create teachable moment after teachable moment.  It’s awesome!!!  I help students do the math activity or remind them that honest feedback is always best. I admire the student work on the walls and feel so proud.

Our school does well on standardized tests for reasons I won’t get into here. My point is that our amazing school-wide math event cannot be reduced to state testing–how insulting.

Moving on now. 
Next POM: Once Upon a Time… May 22nd. Can’t wait!!

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