Monday, April 25, 2016

#PARCC Worries on a Wall

The day before we all embark on our first PARCC journey students participated in a worry wall activity. They were handed a blank piece of white paper. I asked them not to put their names on it and to think of this as a blank canvas. They were tasked with filling the paper with their worries about PARCC. First I got 23 sets of curious eyeballs on me. Then some eyeballs started to bug out. Then someone asked what I meant. I explained we were making a Worry Be Gone Wall. I wanted them to express their thoughts in writing or pictures to be hung up so we could reflect on what makes us all nervous. It is good to get this out on paper. As students began to work I noticed a lot of commonalities. Students are worried about: the time, failing, not knowing the answer, the open responses, going blank, and breaking pencils among other things. As each student brought me his or her paper it gave me a chance to discuss his or her worries and alleviate some of them. If their pencil breaks they should raise their hand and ask for a new one. If they try their best time will be on their side. We are all afraid of failure (even adults). After they were all hung up I shared my observations.  We talked about how we are not alone in our worries. It is important to hear what others are concerned about too. Often we think we are the only ones worried about certain things, but once we start talking about it with others our anxiety is quelled as they often have similar experiences. I am worried about running out of time and not being able to finish all our projects we started. We have 38 days left (I am out 4 of them), so we will get finish what we can. I am worried about failing my papers. It was nice to be able to connect to students’ concerns. I then asked them if my face looked nervous or worried. They said no. I reminded them how much growth we have all gone through since September and that tomorrow is a day to show off that growth in 90 minutes. The test taking people do not know your agents, their worries, their concerns, or their thoughts. It is a standardized test and our agents are definitely not standardized! Please remind your child he or she left their worries on a wall before they leave for school. That is where they should stay! Hung up for all to see (and it is not easy to share your worries with a hallway of people but our agents were brave and did so!). Cannot wait to see the PARCC Busters in action!

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