Last week for DigiLit Sunday, I wrote about form. I was pretty deep into teaching and writing poetry, grappling with form or no form. Julianne suggested that we follow form with function this week. When I googled function, the images suggested one right answer. That answer leads to points on a graph. Points on a graph remind me of testing.
Testing is the necessary evil, in my book. I teach gifted kids, and for the most part, the reason they are in my class is they can take tests well. They’ve figured out the function, so to speak.
So my question is how do I further my students learning beyond what the standardized test is going to require? My students are outside-of-the-box thinkers. I have to find ways to keep them thinking this way while, at the same time, capable of going back into the box come test time.
There is much grumbling in my class about testing. I have had students enjoy this time because it is quiet, and they get to read for long stretches. But one student complained that her teacher-proctor punished her for recess because she finished the session in 20 minutes. I’m sure the logic was “There is no way you can get all the answers right in 20 minutes.” That very well may be true, but my thinking tells me this teacher did not know this child.
The function of a teacher is to know her students. If you were to ask me about any of my students, I could tell you their favorite books, what genre they prefer to write, and their favorite activity to do outside of school.
The only thing about my kids that I could plot on a graph would be their reading levels. Yet their reading levels say nothing about their interest levels. And interest is everything when it comes to reading.
I take my function seriously, but I will never function to produce a right answer or a point on a graph. I strive to make my classroom one of discovery and development, creativity and caring.
How do you interpret function as it pertains to literacy? Be sure to leave a link to your own blog post today.