No Rubric

Like every good teacher, I try to do what I am told by my administrators. I realize that much of what they demand comes not from their own beliefs about children, but from the local, state and federal bureaucrats who increasingly control what we do every day.

I have tried my best to administer pre-tests, post-tests and ongoing formative assessments.

I have even created and used rubrics on everything from story writing to math questions.  I understand that in the age of “accountability”, I must provide proof that children are learning under my care.

I get it, OK?


Now that the state tests are over, and I have already met with every parent to review the year’s progress, I am free to let the children go.  Now that all of the weighing and measuring is over, I am free to encourage them to indulge in all of the intellectual curiosity and creativity that I have been forced to curtail all year.  I am free to give them a push, aim them in the right direction, and let them spread those beautiful wings.

They are putting on a play.

They chose the topic (a script based on a book that we read out loud, but including themselves in the action). They chose roles, wrote the lines, chose the directors.  They have spent three weeks (including several recess times) creating sets and painting, cutting, gluing, rewriting, organizing, rehearsing.

I keep a general sense of order, and help the two directors (the two quietest girls in the class) to assert themselves. My role is to get their attention and keep them to the timeline.

Other than that, I am staying out of the way.

While I seriously doubt that we will ever win a Tony award, I have to say that the play is funny, fast paced and thorough.

With no adult to get in the way, the kids have used all kinds of literacy skills (ie, writing a summary, writing dialogue, editing, rewriting), all kinds of math skills (ie, measuring the sets, estimating time, averaging the number of lines spoken), and all kinds of social skills (ie, cooperating, compromise, asserting ideas, making sure that everyone is included).  This play, complete with a food fight, poop jokes and more pratfalls than an old Jerry Lewis movie, is the culmination of everything that I have tried to teach them this year.

And there is no rubric that can measure the sense of pride, pleasure and community that this activity is giving them.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by mikenzie on June 8, 2012 at 12:45 am

    My favourite part of your post is the obvious connection you make from PD to your daily practice and your willingness to reflect and to try new things in your classroom.

    I am fortunate to have a supportive administration that always puts the “play” before the test. So often “letting them go” is when the best learning happens…

    Thanks for sharing!


    • Oh, you are lucky!! I feel like I am fighting a rising tide, I must admit. One colleague, upon hearing about our play, said exactly that: “You are still fighting! Good for you!”
      Happy almost summer!


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