Okay, so there are some non-negotiables at the beginning of a school year and one of those is school wide reading assessment. Oooh, my favorite.
They have the kids march down to just outside the reading room and squirm and writhe on a cold, hard [and not-so-clean] floor, armed with a book and an understandable antsiness. Is that a word? It should be.
Anyway, I was ready.
Step 1: I brought blankets.
Step 2: I had the kids bring their journals for sketching or writing.
Step 3: I brought playing cards, which were used for either quick addition or multiplication ‘face-off’ [I don’t use ‘War’ to name the game; call me a ‘pacifist’. Even ‘face-off’ carries its own level of aggression, but I show them a face-off in a hockey game, well, I could go on and on trying to calm the waters…]
Step 4: I brought a box of books and assigned to Beth and James the role of ‘circulation director’. Kids could exchange books as needed.
And all went fine. For ten minutes.
And then I found something better .
The library—within ten feet of the reading room—was available! Not sure why that wasn’t offered to begin with, but I marched them in and figured I’d weather any possible blowback later. A library with tables and chairs and comfort and quiet. Seemed like a better lead-in to a reading assessment.