Reflection: Adjustments to Practice Testing Trail Mix - Section 2: Creating a Nutrition Label


Some of the most important self-reflection happens in the moment, if I am open to it.  This lesson takes place shortly before our big-stakes test and it has been a longer than usual morning of review.  Our state, Arizona, is still giving a test on the old standards even though we are teaching the CCSS, so this morning I deviated from my usual practice and went over a practice test with them.  

I do not like test prep that teaches students how to take a test, but I also think it would be unethical for me to throw them into a completely unfamiliar situation with no guidance.  As most teachers spend several weeks preparing for our big test, I feel like an hour is not unethical!  

I used the 30 questions provided by our state online to review test items.  Those that were not CCSS items I didn't worry about but I was getting a bit frazzled when my students were missing common sense questions that practiced very basic skills.  I was trying to self-monitor so my frustration wasn't apparent to the students because a negative attitude helps no one.  When we began our real math lesson for the day, this one in which we are preparing a marginally nutritious (better than Takis) snack for the AIMS test, their confusion persisted.  It was at this point that I reminded myself that I have these moments as much as they do, and few of us are "on" all the time.  Rather than worrying about how this cloudy thinking would manifest on the test, I accepted the reality that we are all just a little tired, and decided to have a little fun with it.  

I'm using a more pedantic tone than usual and making fun expressions that you can't see to lighten the mood, and it works in that I relax and they clearly are unwinding a bit.  Increasing the demand when little children have already been worked hard and are tired can backfire.  Allowing a few moments of silliness while gently redirecting them and stepping back down (temporarily) to a higher level of scaffolding, allows us to move forward in a more joyful way.  Reflecting on how I am reacting to the pressure and to their off-the-mark answers allowed me to decrease the level of tension in the room.

  Adjustments to Practice: Maintaining a Positive Climate on an Off Day
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Testing Trail Mix

Unit 10: Math and Me: Nutrition, Health and More
Lesson 2 of 7

Objective: SWBAT use the four operations to calculate the total nutrition facts (calories, fat, sugar and so on) for a tub of strange, child-generated trail mix. They will then use division to get an approximate nutrition label for a cup of the trail mix. They then get to snack on this during the big state test.

Big Idea: Create a snack for testing week while practicing division and multiplication.

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trail mix lesson image irene monique
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