Last week was Badger testing at my school…the Badger test is Wisconsin’s Smarter Balanced Assessment. Despite what the name implies, it’s not a test about Badgers. (Although the 6th grade team I work with, did think it would be entertaining to create a test about badgers. We’re kinda funny that way. You know…with questions like “How many eyes does a badger have?” Stuff like that. Then our kids could say they totally nailed the badger test.)
On a more serious note, I do want my students to perform their very best on the test. Therefore, I give them frequent reminders aout the importance of getting enough sleep, eating a healthy breakfast, and bringing a healthy snack along the day of the test. I do my part by making testing week a more “relaxed” week in the classroom.
This year, I decided to immerse my students in poetry during the week of testing. I read the book Love That Dog by Sharon Creech to my classes. If you’re not familiar with the story, it’s written from the perspective of a young boy named Jack, who is a reluctant writer of poetry.
If you have never read Love That Dog you absolutely must…age should not be a deterrent. Each day my students poured into the classroom begging for me to read more. Definitely a feel good moment for me.
As we read through the book, we studied the poems Creech included at the back of the book. (These were the poems Jack’s teacher used to teach Jack’s class about poetry.) Then, we created our own versions of those poems. And when I say we, I really do mean we, as I wrote right along with the class. At the end of each class, students shared their poems. I was so impressed! Once the pressure of grades, and rubrics, and formats were set aside, their creativity flowed. Many of my reluctant writers were eager to write and many were eager to share what they had created. I even had students writing poems at home…as homework…only this was the week I didn’t assign any homework.
It was one of the best weeks ever. And my students agreed. Makes me want to have another testing week. Nah. Not really. But it does make me excited to continue our poetry journey!
Here’s one of the poems I created. It was inspired by “The Red Wheelbarrow” written by William Carlos Williams. (We learned in the book that poets are honored to have their work inspire others…but we need to let others know the source of inspiration.)
So much depends
or how about this…
So much depends
of the student
holding the pencil
at a blank
Well, my students thought it was funny. I love 6th graders!
And now, since you’ve been so patient, here is a recipe that combines my love of chocolate and peanut butter. Plus, these little gems are so nutrient dense you can feel good about eating them. And they are so filling, that you feel satisfied after eating one or two!
Throw ingredients into a food processor:
Transfer to a bowl and add chocolate chips:
Form into cookie shape:
Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
2 c. chickpeas/garbanzo beans (canned–drained and rinsed)
1 super ripe banana
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. date sugar
1/2 c. cacao powder
1 t. vanilla
1 t. baking powder
3/4 c. chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life brand)
Place all ingredients, except chocolate chips in food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer dough into a bowl. Add chocolate chips and stir until chips are well distributed. Place bowl in the fridge to chill. (I waited 1/2 hour.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a cookie scoop to create uniform size balls. Roll into balls, then gently flatten between the palms of your hand. Place on cookie sheets. Bake for 17-20 minutes. Cool on sheets, and then transfer to cooling rack.
Grab a poetry book, a glass of nut milk, and a few cookies and relax.