Friday, September 09, 2011


Today was a bit of an unusual day due to California English Language Development Test, or CELDT. This state-mandated test is given to students who are designated as English Language Learners each fall to determine their level of English proficiency and to monitor their progress in learning conversational and academic English. For teachers, it is probably the most annoying test of the year. Since only a few of your students take it, it's hard to know what to do with everybody else. And that really is a problem because it is not the kind of test that you can just give to kids and have them sit happily at a table and work by themselves. There are lots of directions to present, even on the written portions of it, and big sections assessing listening skills which the teacher has to read aloud. And then there is a section of the test evaluating speaking skills which has to be given one-on-one. This is the kind of thing that people in Sacramento who haven't seen a classroom in 20 year dream up. But we have to give it.

The fourth grade teachers at Third Street work together quite well, so we decided to team for CELDT. Mrs. Choi agreed to give the listening, reading, and writing parts of the tests to the all the fourth graders who had to take it. There were 8 students in room nineteen who were in that category. That created a bit of a conundrum for me. After all, with so many students gone, I did not want to introduce anything really new because the students who were off to take the test would miss it. So we spent the morning doing a bit of this and that. We worked some more on life maps. Since rubrics will be an important tool in our writing program, we talked about rubrics and students worked to create their own rubrics on a 1, 3 , and 5 point scale. We finished any work left undone from Wednesday and Thursday.

After recess, we did math. Math is usually an afternoon activity, but I knew that the students taking the CELDT test would be taking the oral section of the test in the afternoon and I did not want them to miss math. Our topic today was place value in the millions. I was pleased by how well our students did at reading and writing large numbers. This was a part of the book that really was difficult for many in last year's class.

After lunch, Mr. Pratt and I took all the fourth graders who were not taking the oral section of the CELDT and supervised them on the yard. It was "free play" physical education. They could choose their activity, but they had to be doing something, not just sitting under a tree. It is not the finest form of PE instruction, but there is only so much you can do with 90 students and 2 teachers.

Mrs. Choi, the fourth grade teacher, was assisted by Mrs. Choi, our school's coordinator, and Mrs. Cha in giving the time consuming oral part of this test. Big thanks to them for agreeing to take on this job!

Monday things will start to return to normal.

Homework:  (1) Do “Millions,” pages 8-9 in the math book. Do “Puzzling Place Values” on the back of the math answer sheet. (2) Do “Cursive Letter Formation 3”.

No comments: