Thoughts to get me through the Colorado Student Assessment Program

CSAP can do weird things to you. It kind of goes to work on your head. There is nothing unique about your test. It is the same as everyone else’s. And so you crave to do something original, to snap the unending monotony of test giving and test taking. The Colorado Student Assessment Program provided me with an abundance of time to think and be creative this year, and unlike my students, I was actually allowed to write out my ideas. (Students can’t write out their ideas because we are afraid that they will write out an answer to the test or pass a note, as if they wanted anything more to do with the test after it is over.)

This year I chose to think about next year that seems to be approaching so rapidly as to be nearing terminal velocity. All last week, I said what I have always said about next years, “I am determined to get it right next year.” But this year the “it” is different. This year I am not referring to classroom management. This year the “it” is not referring to teaching a book or unit the right way. The “it” this year is that I am going to get the next generation of my classroom right. I am going to make sure that I have all of the research and ideas in place so that I know and everyone else knows what the Discovery Team will look like when it comes through this fundamental change.

So what will change next year? Well, it is my hope that teaching will become a more collaborative process and learning will become more student-directed. This may sound far-fetched and somewhat hollow, but I have outlined everything, down to the assessments (much better than CSAP if you ask me) in a wiki. The fact that it is a wiki means that it can change. This vision is malleable by anyone who is interested in taking a stab at making thing better for teachers and students.

The Academy of Discovery is more than just a vision, though. It is a gauntlet that is being thrown down. It is a statement that says education will not be effective without collaboration, context, conversation, change, connection, and continuous support. This ultimatum, however, is more for students than teachers. It means that once we provide you with all of the infinite resources, creativity, potential of a connected classroom, it is your responsibility to be amazing. It is your responsibility to direct your engagement. It is your responsibility to learn.

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