About Thinks

Sometimes good thinks happen and sometimes bad thinks happen. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish between the two.

Some thinks need immediate action and some thinks may remain as thinks forever. Thinks can be angry and heated. Thinks can be joyful. Thinks should never be cold.

These thinks are linked to many other wonderful thinks and I like to attribute these.

These thinks do not necessary reflect those thinks of my employer.

Think long, think on.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

the sickening silence of asTTle

I really do not know what Hattie was thinking with Asttle. As I look around my class I can see children sitting in silence answering out of context maths questions. This year, thanks to the fine work of Dan Meyer, I have been teaching maths by getting the children to generate and ask questions. After about 5 minutes of asTTle-ing they start twitching. It was my job to tell them to keep still. Then they started whispering, generating questions, and seeking clarification from each other. It was my job to tell them to be quiet.

How is it that these National Standard Approved assessments are so far removed from the paradigm shift in education? Why is it that we are seeking innovative exploratory learning methods, encouraging collaboration and critical thinking and then measuring all this with an isolated test that must be done in silence? What are we doing to our kids?

In this environment WHO CARES what a kid can do on their own without any access to equipment or people to bounce ideas off? I spoke to my Principal about it (he just LOVES my morning talks) and he convinced me to a certain extent that there is a place for individual data. Okay, I can accept that. BUT I think that individual data is too heavily weighted. I'm guessing most primary schools base their childrens' maths knowledge on individual assessments. NUMP diagnostic assessments, Asttle etc.

Why is it that the Nat Stds are calculated from working back from the NCEA system yet there seems to be no scope to have 'team assessments? Why can't we get groups of children to together to try and figure our an AsTTle test as a team? Why would that be considered invalid?

Participating and Contributing Managing Yourself Relating to Others
Where do these sit when we chain our children to desks with white photocopied booklets? They don't - they're not valued. We say they are, we go on about them, we pride ourselves in them, but really? "We" (whoever we are) don't value them.

If there is a team based Nat Stds approved maths assessment I'd be keen to hear about it. I must run it by my Principal at one of my morning talks.

AsTTle: What is the difference between 208 and 132? (completely out of context)
Favourite Answer: 208 is bigger than 132

Seriously, What are we doing?


  1. Tara, you may be interested (and you may well read it already) in Bruce Hammonds' Leading and Learning blog http://bit.ly/f8sJxn
    I found him excellent at answering the "seriously, what are we doing?" you are concluding with and at eloquently discussing and presenting what in his opinion it should be like to serve the true educational needs of our children.

  2. For the past few weeks, I have heard myself constantly reminding my dear kids that I want to know what they think not what they can build on with their peers... You have summed it up in this post. We obviously have a very similar teaching strategy... My kids have given me perplexed looks as if to ask what are you on about and I have felt like an authoritarian as opposed to a facilitator.... ggggrrrr to it all :(

  3. Tau ke Tara! You are awesome. I am totally in awe that you care enough about your tamariki that you would voice such an opinion. Thanks for sharing. I have no sound advice except a heartfelt thank you!