Learning on the River

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Dec 12 2010

I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of ACT Scores.

It once again feels good to be a teacher.  I had a great week.  I got to see my babies on the basketball team play.  I had several very productive conferences with parents.  I got one of my students to stop calling me “baby.”  And all the havoc wreaked on my room turned out to be less of a tropical storm and more of a forest fire.  I’m using the destruction of my room as a sort of rebirth for next semester.  I am changing the way my room looks and feels.    I’m changing things for the better:  new bullentin boards, new public tracking, new investment strategies.  New semester = better room, bigger goals, and harder work.

Thursday and Friday were devoted to the ACT.  The ACT is my favorite big goal and the coolest thing to teach.  It’s so refreshing to talk about something other than a state test.  The ACT is a gateway to so many life opportunities:  magnet schools, scholarships, colleges, and future careers.  I like the big picture of it and most of my kids do as well. 

Thursday was devoted to teaching test taking strategies.  I took these strategies (like don’t leave any question blank) for granted.  My kiddos didn’t know to at least guess on all of them.  No one had ever taught them to never leave a multiple choice question blank.  On Friday, they took the reading and English sections of the ACT for the third time.  I just finished grading and tracking and I am pretty flippin’ excited!

First block grew 5.5 points.  Fourth block grew 5.7 points.  Third block grew 8.2 points!  They grew this much since their first test in August.  Three points was all TFA and I expected them to grow this semester.  First & third block have a class average of 14 and fourth block has an average of 12.  This is great for freshmen.  They have already met the freshmen readiness standards.  In fact, we’re on track to be well above the sophomore readiness level before May.

It’s not often enough that we get to see such obvious fruits of our labors as teachers.  This is a great moment.  My students are putting themselves on a different life path.  If they continue to grow like this through all of high school, they could attend any college they want.  They can defy the odds.  They can break this vicious cycle of inequity in and out of the classroom.  It is possible.  I truly believe it.  Now I need to make sure every single one of them believes this too.

This week is dedicated to finals which equals a pretty easy week on my part.  I’m not even sure when finals are, because my school hasn’t told us yet.  I need to make copies of my finals tomorrow morning so I can have them ready at a moment’s notice; I’m sure that’s all I will have.  I’m excited to see how the kiddos do on the final.  Hopefully the momentum from the ACT will carry over into their final exam.  Monday morning is fast approaching, but I am ready to go.  I’m ready to make something big happen.

3 Responses

  1. Beth


    Where did you get freshmen readiness standards? I would love to do this with my kids for math.

    • William

      Go to http://www.act.org/news/data/09/states.html and click on your state. It dicusses benchmark scores (college ready) as well as your state’s average over the last 5 years and ways to improve students’ scores. Hope it helps!

  2. Mama Jenkins

    To our next Sue Lehmann winner:

    Big fat wet kisses for the babies!!! I’m soooo proud of y’all! Here’s to being sophomore ready at the end of FRESHMAN year! Wooohoooo!

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Details of a Delta English Teacher

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