Slice of Life 5: The ISTEP Blues

March 5, 2009

The Slice of Life Challenge hosted by

Today I was given the privilege of administering an ISTEP test (our statewide test).  Mrs. B, a fourth grade teacher, had gone to the hospital last night with a violent case of the flu.  She was so upset and worried about her kids.  I’ve been teaching in her room this year, so the kids felt comfortable seeing me.

Since they were going to take a writing prompt today, I decided to bring my notebook and share the slice of life I had written last night about my gray hair (appearing soon on the blog).  The kids have grown to like hearing my stories.  I ask for their responses, questions, and possible revisions.  We’re a team.  I come alongside them, learning and practicing too.

Since I was walking around the room monitoring the students, my brain began thinking.  I had to capture those thoughts, so I grabbed my notebook and jotted while walking.

As I glanced at their writing, I noticed great lines of thought and interesting craft.  I longed to point to one and say, “Excellent.  Creative.  Tell me more.”  I wanted to ask, “What do you mean by…?  Say some more about that.” 

But instead, I patted them on the back and smiled.  My eyes were saying, “You can do it” or “Think back to” or “Remember when you wrote.…”  My heart pleads with the ISTEP graders to see the potential these kids have.  They are young, fragile, and learning.

Thank goodness for tomorrow.  Mrs. B can take them by the hand and lead them past the test to a new day of exploring!

(After the test, I told the kids I had been writing too.  They asked that I share, which I did.  When I ended reading the above piece, they applauded.  One kid asked, “Do you think you could come and read a  piece of writing you’re working on once a week?”  What an invitation!!)