WES teacher instills confidence for FCAT

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Tests being held now

By The Staff

With the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test right around the corner, one third grade teacher wanted her students to realize they were ready for the FCAT! So she decorated one of her bulletin boards with the face of a “cat” with these words above it: “We’re not afraid of a little ole kitty!”

Then the students drew their own faces which came with their own “talking bubble” wherein they could write phrases that expressed their level of confidence: “Bring it on!” and “It’s just like a little quiz.”

This was simply a way to encourage my students to do their best on the FCAT and not to be afraid of something they have prepared for all year...and actually since they started school at Joyce Bullock Elementary,” said Hillary Clubb Cribbs, a first-year teacher at Williston Elementary.

Since the Florida Legislature has discouraged any type of “pep rally” to get students psyched about doing their best, Cribbs felt like she wanted to be encouraging without going overboard.

“I believe our thoughts are very important. Sort of like ‘the little engine that could.’ If our students believe they can, then their chances of succeeding are much greater than if they feel overwhelmed by a test they feel is way over their heads.”

On the classroom board, the “daily data” Venn diagram showed that every last one of Cribbs’s students is ready to “shine on the FCAT!” Cribbs expects no test anxiety from any of her students.

The controversial FCAT evaluates not only how well students have mastered the Sunshine State Standards in math, reading and science (for 5th graders), but it also tests what kind of critical thinkers the students are.

Have they developed problem solving skills so that they can pull one of several strategies out of their “bag of tricks” to solve a problem and come up with the correct answer for the multiple choice items?

For the short response with the 4th and 5th grade tests, how thoroughly they answer the questions determines the number of points each answer warrants.

And as many teachers will tell you, following directions is a major part of the FCAT because answers to math problems sometimes must be placed in a grid a certain way, and the short responses have parameters; students can’t just ramble on endlessly.

FCAT testing lasts from March 10-17 WES with the 18th and 19th set aside for make-ups.

Parents are encouraged to get their children in bed early, feed them a good breakfast and get them to school on time.

“We feel confident that our students will excel, and we look forward to a successful experience throughout the testing,” said Principal Cynthia Lewis.