Monday, May 3, 2010

Dear NPR,

You failed me this morning, for the first time. Thankfully, it wasn't too serious.

Every morning I wake up and the first thing I think about the date. Now, because I grew up in Western Massachusetts, a place with, you know...four seasons and not one and a half there are days when I can't figure out the month in my early morning stupor because I have no seasonal clues. Oh, it's sunny outside, it must be August...or October...or February.

So this morning, I'm in the car thinking about the date, when your story came on about TODAY being the 40th anniversary of the Kent State Shooting. I listened as you did an interview with one of the nine survivors remembering a piece of historical fiction I had written in college for a history class all about the days leading up to the massacre itself from the point of view of the girl in the historic photograph. I remembered the date from the project, May 4th and also remembered that people also called the day the May 4th Massacre. Aha! I said to myself, it's May 4th! I was pretty impressed with myself for remembering the date after years of not thinking about the project.

I got to school, gave the reading assessments all day, labeling each May 4th and thinking to myself how clever I was, until the last test was handed in and Matt said to me, "Ms. Knitter, isn't it the third?"

I felt very not clever after that.

Yours Truly Even So,

Ms. Knitter

11 Days left.

So, I had allotted this week to do the DRA (Diagnostic Reading Assessment) because it's taken me that long in the past. On Friday I went in to make sure everyone's folders were organized and I had copies of the correct test. I sort of guessed on where I thought the kids would test out and I'm proud to say I was only wrong 1 out of 15 times. (ROCK ON! Less time and paper wasted when I'm so very right!)

I ended up spending the entire morning on it with the third graders. I gave them some busy work and tested the kids I had to test. (The other reading teachers are testing the other third graders.) It took about two and a half hours all told. After the kids' out loud reading fluency is tested, they have to answer questions to test their prediction and comprehension skills. That part they do on their own and it can take them up to an hour or more to complete it. So the whole morning was testing. I decided to do the same with the fourth graders. I only missed two kids, because they were absent.

I figured it was better to mess up the whole day rather than the whole week. Then I took some time to grade them and put the results into my computer. I felt a little guilty about taking teaching time to do that, but I haven't once complained about not having any specials after physical education was cut after the holiday break and both my classes lost Performing Arts because the teacher can't control them at the end of February. I figured I sort of deserved it and the kids didn't complain.

I'd given them the math assessment last week and so was able to put everything together in each of their folders and left my classroom feeling like I had accomplished a lot. Report cards are going to be a breeze! The only test they have left is the Spanish language test and Ms. Jenson will be giving that, though I'll have to correct the multiple choice section.

While I was in the midst of testing the third graders this morning, who walked into my room but Monte! One of my sixth graders from last year! It was so good to see him. He's so much taller. I asked him why he had come by, though I guessed he and his mum had been to the capilla on the other side of the church from where my classroom is. He said that he had just popped in to visit me and that he lives outside of La Pasa now! His mum popped into my classroom earlier this year to say hello and to wish me well. I must have made an impression on that family! It made me warm and snuggly inside.

*Sigh* Only eleven days left.