A Florida school is holding a mock funeral to help kids get ready for the upcoming FCAT writing test (HT: Gotham Schools). ”Mourners will file past an open coffin, and a teacher will deliver a eulogy, surrounded by faculty members wearing black at the West Palm Beach campus,” the Palm Beach Post reports.
The mortician, Principal Glenda Garrett, said this ‘FCAT writing funeral’ will be a solemn occasion with a powerful lesson. Students will list and drop in the casket essay mistakes such as poor word choices — so they will avoid digging their own graves at test time. ‘We bury all of the things we should not do for writing,’ she said. ‘No baby words. Throw that into the casket. It’s dead. Goodbye.’
The “mourners” at Roosevelt Elementary School are 4th graders. Nine and ten-year olds will bury their mistakes. I don’t think this is what Obama had in mind when he urged us to “put away childish things.” Perhaps this is intended as something “fun” for the kids, but there’s still something that sounds a little off about it.
In recent years, the standardized test pep rally seems to have taken root in many elementary schools. “Watch me take my ELA! Watch me score a 4. Watch me score a 3. Watch me take my ELA,” Buffalo students chant and sing. Principals vow to shave their heads or sleep on the school roof if kids fare well on the Big Test.
The stunts and pep rallies are inevitably describes as a way to “ease pre-test jitters.” This begs the question, of course where exactly those jitters emanate from.