Ruth’s Slice: Debbie Miller Observation!
Sitting on the floor of a primary classroom, watching Debbie Miller lead a reading workshop, I am reminded of the importance of a student-led classroom. It all comes down to either embracing the thinking and work of students or embracing standardized test prep. It’s either empowering students or it’s empowering the test. I am renewed in my soul to embrace the imperfect work of students.
It is through teaching kids to think, comprehend, and write in a workshop environment that will lead to success on a standardized test. My proof?
As Debbie reminded us, if kids are becoming stronger thinkers and stronger readers and stronger writers, then they will (by default) be strong test takers. In my years of research, the best way I’ve found to become a stronger reader and writer is to learn according to a workshop philosophy.
Edited:I’m continuing to wrestle with the idea of an all or none deal when it comes to teaching according to student needs versus preparing students for a standardized tests. I’ve always spoken to the balance of these in our classrooms, but I’m wondering if that is really the best. Ought our time be spent in helping students become stronger readers, writers, and thinkers. This is the single-best-way to help them succeed on a test.
It’s a good thing to wrestle with these kinds of questions. I can feel my thinking change. This helps me determine what I believe and ultimately makes me a better educator. It’s okay for thinking to change, in fact, it’s preferable.