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Saturday, September 25. 2010
This evening, I brought home four very tired children from a friends' house. Not only were they physically tired from a long day full of fun and play but they were mentally exhausted as well. As part of the new school program we are doing, the children all have to take pre tests at the beginning of the year seeing what they know of the material to be presented over the coming year and then they take post tests at the end of the year.
The testing was intense and intimidating. They were tested in math and language and each test was to take about an hour which translates for me to over 6 hours of testing. A friend of ours who was in the program last year, suggested we get together and have the kids play and have a bit of a party. We would have two adults proctoring 2 tests at the same time and the other kids would play. The two younger kids (A-girl and AJ) had portions that needed to be read to them and the other two were pretty much independent. So we got together this afternoon, all 4 kids took all their tests, we enjoyed dinner together and when all had completed everything, we went for ice cream. These tests were tough but I was so proud of all of the kids. They persisted, they really thought about their answers and didn't just give up when they didn't know how to do a problem but instead looked at the answers, eliminated the ones that didn't seem to fit or work and then tried to figure out the answers. They weren't always successful but they really tried. Time consuming but a great attitude towards this task.
I was blown away by the skills that A-girl demonstrated in the test taking process. I had no idea she had the skills to figure out some of the math problems she was given and I had no idea she could sound out words as well as she did. She didn't get all of them right but she managed to get enough to get the gist of what they were asking and then narrow down the answers. For example, when asked what is the opposite of (blank) she would say the answer she thought it was and then look in the multiple choice answers for one that looked like that or she would sound things out, get close, keep repeating the word over and over and then all of a sudden something would click and she would figure out what the word was supposed to be. Again very time consuming but she amazed me with her reading. She also cracked me up with her math. She new I couldn't read anything unless it was stated in the instructions to read it so she had to do it (meaning she had to figure out what was being asked and the answers all on her own). At one point, I had to contain my laughter as she asked me to put up both of my hands so she could use my fingers as well to figure out a problem that asked something like 22-10-6= what. She quickly figured out I didn't have enough fingers either so resorted to dashes on the paper and scribbling off the ones taken away. Again, I was blown away by the strategies she used to figure things out and the determination that she displayed despite being really tired by the end of it. She really doesn't know how to add the value of money yet but she managed to get a couple of the answers right to money questions but some showed good problem solving and a lot of luck.
AJ and L also did very well. The hardest thing for them was understanding that they weren't going to know everything on the test. They used great problem solving skills and also had some luck fall in there as well. Even though L's final results have not been recorded yet, they all worked hard and no matter what the scores show (I am not a fan of testing knowledge in this fashion) I am so proud of them. They are embracing this new journey and despite some rough spots and some struggles within the lessons and getting them completed in a timely fashion, I am so proud of them and continue to be blown away by what incredible kids they are (yes I know I am very very biased).