Celebrating What You DON"T Believe In

I’m linking up today to Celebrate with Ruth at Discover, Play, Build for her weekly Celebration! You really should too! Who doesn’t like a chance to CELEBRATE?!
Discover. Play. Build.
In first grade we find things to Celebrate EVERYDAY! We celebrate a lost tooth. We celebrate a new pair of shoes. We celebrate reading words, books, sentences. I tell you we CELEBRATE the big and the small!  
But what is so very hard for me is the celebration that must occur in spite of my thoughts and feelingsfor instance timed tests. I despise them, and have never liked using them. I think they breed anxiety (especially for those kiddos who struggle just to get a number down, and in the right direction). I think they are NOT a definition of fluency- fast and timed does not mean fluent. I would rather my child know what numbers are, do, represent- than memorize a set of facts. And although yes I want my kiddos to be fluent and know those facts inside and out, I DO NOT believe timing them is the best method to show this.
But sadly others in my school and Mr. Principal believe it is the best method- for kindergartners and up.  
So how does one celebrate something they don’t really believe in, but want the kiddos to be excited about?
Well besides the usual Whoo Hoo’s and Good Jobs, big smiley’s and gold stars we now have in first grade.
                  "The Wall of Fame!"
This is where the passed tests go from the dreaded timed tests, and where other awesome work will go. The kids get so excited to see their papers on our “Wall of Fame” which of course just a part of empty wall space with fancy letters.  But it gets the kiddos excited about their efforts, and shows Mr. Principal that I am indeed doing his mandated timed tests.
There is one thing I can guarantee you- every.child. will.have.a.test.on.the.wall.of.fame.- by the end of November when the challenge comes to an end! Then we will really celebrate!!!
I am also celebrating today because I get to go out of town with Mr. Hubby! Do you know how long it’s been since we’ve beenanywhere? It’s just to Tulsa but hey it’s away and tomorrow the kids join us to check out the wedding venue for June! That is really a cause to celebrate! I think it calls for cheese cake from the Cheese Cake Factory!  


  1. I totally agree with you on timed tests! We are departmentalized so I teach 4th grade math along with reading and writing. It breaks my heart when I hand a timed test to students who I know will never make it...no matter how hard they try. Kudos to you for finding a way around that to celebrate accomplishments!

  2. I needed a reminder to celebrate. Feeling a little bogged down and needed just that!
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  3. I love the attitude of celebration! And agree with you regarding timed tests. It's awesome that you found a way to pump those kiddos up! :)


  4. I'm not big on timed tests either. But I could celebrate kids' growth from week to week! Or trying hard!

  5. Tammy, I totally agree with you on the timed tests whether it is reading or math. I had a student last year that could read over 90 wpm but didn't have a clue what he had read. We use Everyday Math and they don't push memorization of math facts and I will say this, most of my kids don't really get to know them. I had a few "mathy" type kids who just picked them up, the other were still counting fingers.
    I'm Not Your Grandpa, I'm Your Teacher

  6. Hard to believe that little kindies have to do timed tests, but it seems you are making the best of it, Tammy. Hope your day today & tomorrow is terrific!

  7. Love the Cheesecake Factory! It is our obligation to negotiate the space between mandates and what we believe our students really need. Kudos to you for buffering your students from the pressure by turned timed tests into a cause for celebration.

  8. I agree with you about both timed tests and The Cheesecake Factory. It's hard to have a principal who is so insistent about things like that when you really know or don't feel like it is worth your teaching time. Hope you enjoy your cheesecake...I envy you.

    Keep Calm and Apple On

  9. Tammy --
    I appreciate the way you are standing in the gap for your students between mandates and best practices. It can be wearing to stand in this place, but I'm celebrating that there are educators like you who are willing to stand there. I hope you enjoyed an extra big (or maybe even two) pieces of cheesecake.
    Shine on,

  10. We do celebrate everything in first grade! But I agree it can be hard to see the celebrations with all the extras that are piled on us. I love how you are celebrating your kiddos growth!