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Monday morning begins with desks in a row… the NJASK test – day one of four. It’s strange to see the classroom this way, and think of my kids sitting in these rows for the next two and a half hours, moving from section to section: reading comprehension, writing prompt, reading comprehension, writing prompt. I clean off each desk and place name tags in alphabetical order … as well as four peppermint Lifesavers – one for each section of the test. Then I sit back and think over the past two weeks – we unpacked prompts, strategized, brainstormed, and practiced timed tests. My kids gave each part of it their best shot – even as Spring finally arrived and they longed to go outside to read. They left school on Friday ready to arrive on Monday to “finally get it over with” (as one astute student observed), and soon they will be here – to sit in their rows with their #2 pencils all sharpened, ready to get to work. I think I am ready, too.
Section by section, we get through day one. The peppermints were much appreciated, and our room is now fragrant with its scent. The test booklets have been returned to a secure room until tomorrow, and now there is time to kill until all tests have been collected and locked away. Groups of kids are scattered all over our classroom, playing games, reading, and “just chillin'”. No one is talking about the test. No one is thinking about tomorrow. This afternoon we will take our book club books and Rice Krispie treats out to the soccer field to enjoy another beautiful Spring day as it should be enjoyed: with great book talk, in great company, stretching our thinking … learning.