Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Readicide Blog Hop: The Elephant in the Room

I am very excited to be involved in the summer book study and blog hop for Readicide. For the next five weeks, those of us from Focused on Fifth will read and reflect on Kelly Gallagher's book Readicide.

First off, chapter 1, The Elephant in the Room

This first chapter really spoke to me. I have been teaching for over 20 years and I am saddened by the continued emphasis on high-stakes testing. This year I opted my own children out of our state testing. It was my way of protesting the shift from "teaching to learn" to "teaching to take/pass a test".

I love  author Anna Quindlen's quote "constant testing will no more address the problems with our education system than constantly putting an overweight person on the scale will cure obesity".

More testing is not going to cure what is wrong with education, more/better teaching will!

I am beyond thrilled that Massachusetts Teacher's Association just finished a week long mission to get the word out about the negative impact high-stakes testing has on students and teachers.

It is frustrating when your school's administration focuses on test scores. When you are strongly encouraged to use the system wide anthology to "teach" reading.  An anthology that gives the students a piece of a novel, most of the time leaving them hanging at the end. Very often not enough of the story is shared to leave the students able to identify the theme or to analyze the characters. It is frustrating to know that something is not working but to have your hands tied as to how to fix it.

Even though my district insists that we use the system wide anthology, I manage to incorporate several novels into my teaching each year. This year my students and I were involved in Global Read Aloud. We read The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm and then created a virtual book club by blogging with another classroom in the US. It was a great way to get the students invested in a novel. You can check out my blog posts about GRA here and here.

What's your favorite read aloud?

Now hop on over to Erin's blog Learning to be Awesome and read her thoughts on this first chapter. 


  1. Thanks for the GRA link! It looks like a ton of fun, and a way to get some of our Globalization goals met, too. I read aloud a lot of books, but my favorite is Freak the Mighty. I love how Max grows and how the kids cheer when Freak appears with the Super Soaker. (Did my best to be spoiler-free!)

    1. I would definitely recommend participating in GRA. It was a great experience for me and my students.

      I have never read Freak the Mighty. Putting it on my summer reading list. Six more days for me until summer vacation!

  2. I have never heard of the Global Read Aloud. I am definitely checking that out. I'm impressed that as a teacher you took such a bold stand to opt your own children out of testing.
    The Research Based Classroom

    1. It definitely helped that I was not the only parent in the school (although it was just a handful of us) and that the administration was so supportive.

      Participating in GRA was amazing. Hoping I can do it again next year too!

  3. My favorite read aloud is The Phantom Tollbooth. Afterwards, I have the kids write their own scripted play for it, and then they act it out in front of parents. It's always a big hit, and I've yet to meet a 10 year old who didn't like the book. Awesome blog. Thanks!

    1. Thanks so much! I often forget about the Phantom Tollbooth....so many good books, so little time. I love the idea of having the students write their own scripts. My students would love that.

  4. What a neat way to get your students involved in reading and engaging with a novel. It seems really engaging! Hopefully you are able to do it again next year!
    Learning to be awesome

    1. Erin, I hope so too! I can't wait to find out what book is selected.



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