Assessments, Tests and Measurements!

Oy vey . . .  The title of this post is the name of the course that is giving me fits this quarter. Ugh! I am not a “measurement” type person. Until this course, I was perfectly content to leave the numbers and measurement stuff up to my husband. He’s the scientist. He measures everything, no exceptions. Every book he reads, house we look at, movie we see, etc., Richard will grade. Seldom does anything get an “A” in his book. When asked how he comes up with the grade, Richard will go into great detail about how he figured the numbers and assessed different values to measure an outcome that results in a grade. I kid you not!  He offered to tutor me in this course to which I replied, “NO NO NO!” He is a good man but when it comes to discussions about anything of this sort, he just can’t “dumb” himself down to a level that I understand. I am a measurement impaired person. I will probably have to go to the university tutoring site to get help (like today.) Although befuddled and confused by it all, I readily admit the importance of this particular course. In my field of endeavor, assessments, tests and measurements are essential in the process of diagnosing a problem. In addition, the ability to accurately and ethically use assessment instruments is addressed in the American Counseling Association Code of Ethics, and is required within the managed health system. Now I could say a LOT about managed care, but that is for another blog. As I was saying about assessments et al., use of the proper tool in the proper way for the proper results benefits future clients’ best interest. So I need to learn this stuff, even if it is turning my brain into a pretzel! So, back to the books I go!

Five Question Friday: August 5, 2011

Hard to believe that it is that time of the week again.  This week the questions are a little tamer than some from the past, but they are interesting none-the-less.  So, take a look, take the plunge and publish your answers, but most of all, enjoy the read!  Have a great weekend everybody! 🙂

1. Do you have siblings and are you close with them?

I am the oldest of four.  I also happen to be a twin, but my brother was born five minutes after me. He teases me about being the “old” lady.  In good sisterly fashion, I clobber him (we love each other, can’t you tell 😉 ).  Two years later David came along and joined the fun, and he is fun. Lastly, two years after David, Gary was born.  Sadly, a few years back Gary died of sudden cardiac arrest.  But even with his physical absence, he continues to be thought of and loved by us all. Fortunately our family has been spared the vitriole and rivalry that many families experience.  We love each other dearly. That makes me happy.

2. Would you rather be slightly UNDER weight or slightly OVER weight?

Definitely slightly over weight. Being too skinny is uncomfortable and hard to maintain. I am definitely in rebellion against the anorexic look that has become so popular.  Not healthy.  If I have to choose, I choose pudgy. I like a little meat on the bones.

3. What’s your favorite State Fair food to splurge on?

It has been years since I’ve been to a state fair.  But I do have wonderful memories of food, specifically cotton candy and corn dogs smothered in mustard.  AHHHHH.  Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.  I can taste it.  mmmmmmm

4. What are your thoughts on your kid(s) going to school in a few weeks?

Well, seeing as it has been years since I’ve had kids in school, I don’t think about it.  I do think about the days when I was teaching at a small parochial school.  I loved it, loved the kids, loved the creativity in the classroom.  I miss that.  The end of the summer was always a bittersweet time for me.  I hated to see the summer come to an end, but at the same time I was filled with anticipation of a new school year and the activity it generates.  So for those of you who are busy getting your kids ready for a new school year, enjoy!

5. Pool or Ocean?

DEFINITELY ocean!  Ocean Ocean Ocean.  Have I made my point clear? Ocean. 🙂

My Man!

See y’all next week! 🙂

Five Question Friday: July 8, 2011

This will be quick.  We are still on vacation, but I stole a few minutes away to check mail, post a quick blog or two, and answer some questions.  Here goes!

1. Do you think cursive writing is overrated? (Schools in Indiana have now voted to take teaching cursive writing out of their curriculum.)
What a shame that they are eliminating cursive writing!  I do no think it is overrated, rather I feel that eliminating this curriculum is laziness on our part.  Some study somewhere (I don’t feel like looking it up) shows that those who write in cursive do better academically.  Of course, as a former fifth-grade teacher, I think this helps our writing, reading, and everything else . . . 😉  but then, maybe I’m overrating its importance.  hahaha

2. Do you still use a pocket calendar or notepad or do you keep your info on your smart phone?
No smart phone.  No pocket calendar.  Notepad…archaic I know, but see question 1.

3. What 3 things would you save if your house was burning down? (family & pets are already safe)
Photos, books, laptop.

4. Country Mouse or City Mouse, err Person?
Oy…. I like both.  I love the country and would probably choose to live there, but only if I could make regular trips into the city….love the vitality of a city.

5. If you could pick ANY reality show to go on, which would you pick?
Wow.  We don’t own a tv and it’s been a very long time since I’ve watched.  Never did watch reality shows.  There’s one that takes people on adventures all around that world that sounds interesting, but I can’t remember the name: Amazing something-or-other.  The one that rebuilds or remodels your home also sounds good.
That does it for this week.  We are heading home Sunday or Monday and life will return to normal.  I’ll get back to visiting your blogs then (I have over 500 notices of new postings by y’all to catch up on…I’m gonna be busy!)  Thanks for continuing to drop by during my vacation.  Have a great weekend!!!

The Penultimate Day

While packing for our most recent move, I uncovered a box filled with momentos from my teaching days in Detroit.  Going through the pictures and notes from students, as well as projects and assignments that had some significance for me, I discovered something that I had written for my fifth grade girls (I taught in a girl’s yeshiva) on the next-to-last day of class before the summer break.  It was one of those “we are all in school, none of us wants to be here, the grades are all in, so why are we doing this” situations.  As a fifth grade teacher, I felt it was important to help the girls develop their vocabulary skills beyond the expected weekly spelling words.  Every year one of our daily exercises was vocabulary enhancement, what “fondly” came to be known as “Wild Words.”  Each day as the students assembled, hanging up coats and retrieving books or submitting completed homework from the night before, I would write a “new” word on the chalk-board (yes, we were still using chalk at that time) along with a simple definition, the word part, and a sentence illustrating proper usage. (You have no idea how much time I spent every year scouring the dictionary looking for suitable words and definitions!) The girls would copy the information in their writing journals and throughout the day we would use the word as often as possible.  This was a popular learning exercise, and I regularly received feedback from parents that the words were being used at home, too, and some families were even making games for the entire family to learn the words. (“Wild Words” was one of my best “stolen” ideas ever!) I found many ways to incorporate “Wild Words” in all our learning activities each day.

 

On this next-to-the-last day of the school year, in my efforts to keep the girls busy and learning, I decided to have them write a paper with the stipulation that they use as many of the wild words from throughout the year as they possibly could.  As you probably surmise, my students grumbled, mumbled, moaned, and one even suggested revolt!  (After all, what did they have to lose?)  So to appease these angelic revolutionaries, I chose to do the assignment with them.  Yes, that mollified the girls. . .somewhat.  At any rate, I wrote a little essay in the twenty minutes allotted for this activity, as did each student, and to class’s surprise, every one of my students wrote something that was fun and interesting.  Unfortunately I don’t have any of their “spontaneous” stories, but I do have mine.  When I uncovered this piece, I immediately knew that it was “blog worthy” material!  I don’t know why I think that this is blog-worthy other than the fact that it is fun to read, at least in my humble opinion.  I have underlined the wild words in this post (out of over 150 words we learned that year) and just so you know, all words were taken straight from Webster’s Dictionary!  Enjoy.

 

 

What a daunting task!  Initially, the assignment sounded tantalizing.  I sincerely thought the girls would be exuberant about writing a story of such exorbitant proportion.  But no!  The boisterous, cantankerous, persnickety girls almost started a fracas!  They thought the assignment was nothing more than blarneyflapdoodle they called it.  What naysayers these girls are!  Well, I have a proclivity for this sort of thing with the savvy to match.  So this zappy yeasayer threw succinct brevity to the wind and started to write.  Bibliophile that I am, surely I could deal with this conundrum with equanimity and poise.  I noticed that the more I wrote, the cacophony of yammering girls began to subside.

 

Zowie, this may be ludicrous, however there are a plethora of ideas percolating in my head as I write.  Maybe I should throw in some onomatopoeia to make my story interesting: Bang! POW! Clang! Clomp! Ring! BOP! Clap! BAM! Zing! Bling!—I hope I’m not being superfluous.  I would be chagrined to think that I failed to exude the attribute of modesty in this assignment.  That would be downright audacious!

 

The more I contemplated this writing exercise, I began to chortle about issuing such an ambitious task on this penultimate day of the school year.  Hopefully though, this quaint little reflection of a paper will be riveting enough to arouse the vacillating interest of my dubious students.

 

 

The lesson learned here is not in what we wrote that day, but in the surprises we discover, the tasks we master, and the accomplishments we achieve when we push through our resistance and allow ourselves to create.