And now a word from our sponsor…

(Sorry for cross-posting.)

I can’t stand it anymore. It’s time to vent. As the school year draws to an end, and my “puppies” wrap up another grade level, I am again astonished to discover that they are apparently earning credits for an unadvertised course in cinematography (or is it to become a movie critic?). Since the No Child Left Behind cover-your-backside tests were completed about a month ago, watching DVDs has been the rule rather than the exception for time spent in class. Edutainment? Documentaries? No! Pop culture films. Very interesting.

As a librarian, I am disgusted that the time is not spent in silent reading (proven to increase reading scores). Seems like this could be the perfect opportunity for selecting reading material that appeals to each student, whether comic books, nonfiction or the latest glampire fiction.  Pursuing reading material about topics of personal interest helps develop life-long-learning skills. Too hard to get materials for all the kids? Well, put a librarian in every building and let the kids roam the stacks.

Still can’t do that?  Too hard to keep the “quiet” in quiet reading?  Well, how about making time for those old stand-by hands-on activities.  Remember the days before NCLB, when crafts and group projects were fun?  Maybe post-test time is the right time to bring back this oldie but goodie.  Crafts encourage creative expression; group crafts and activities foster social skills.  Heck, have ’em write plays, create costumes and sets, and perform for each other.

Not into crafting?  Got an interactive board (a la SmartBoard)?  Go on Web Quests together.  The National Park Service has Junior Ranger and Web Ranger quests on their site (Web Ranger is here: http://www.nps.gov/webrangers/).  Other museums, including all of those under the Smithsonian umbrella, offer online exhibits, many with activities and virtual tours.  Need ideas?  Visit my Museums on the Web blog (it’s intended to provide resources for educators and librarians) here: http://nancy-librarymuse.blogspot.com/.

As a parent, I’m livid; why I don’t just take my kids on vacation as soon as the achievement tests are done?  They’d get more out of time at Williamsburg, Lake Erie or the state capital than from another viewing of Up or The Sandlot. As a librarian, I’m mortified that those precious teachable moments are lost. As an adult, I’m disgusted that the kids are planted in front of a TV with a virtual babysitter.

And now, back to regularly scheduled book reviews.

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