A couple of days ago I was giving the mid-year writing assessment to two of my fourth grade students. I know it's a difficult assessment, but Mrs. Pokey and I believe strongly that it's important to assess the writing of our English Language Learners at least three times during the school year. We do a beginning of the year assessment, another at mid-year and the third at the end of the school year. We use the grade level tests from the Write Source writing series and also use a rubric from Writing A-Z.
I set up my small room with the appropriate materials including tabletop cardboard privacy shields (corrugated cardboard trifold boards). By small room, I mean that my room is about the size of a large closet. There's enough room for a small round table, four chairs and a very small floor space in front of my tiny meter wide SmartBoard. It's quite "cozy" at times.
My fourth graders entered the room and sighed when they saw the set up. They knew the privacy shields meant serious business. My fourth graders are Taxi Boy (of the "America's Got Talons fame") and California Kid. California Kid was new to our school at the beginning of the year and has some serious gaps in his education. We're working on filling those gaps as quickly as we can, but he'll need lot of intervention to catch up to his classmates.
We started the test and I began to read it aloud to the two boys. (It's intended to be a writing test, not a reading test. Therefore, I chose to use read-aloud as an accommodation.) After about the third question in the first "bubble-the-correct-answer" section, California Kid let loose a loud flatulent blast. Taxi Boy looked up from his test to see California Kid's embarrassed face. California Kid flopped his head down on the table and started to giggle.
Taxi Boy looked at California Kid for a moment and then calmly said, "Dude!" California Kid continued to giggle. ( I thought Taxi Boy showed a lot of restraint because the "toot" in question was quite loud.)
I said something teacher-ly like, "We all pass gas now and then. It happens. Let's keep going with the test."
We continued the test and a minute or so later, California Kid snuck out another little toot. He started giggling again. I continued reading the test aloud. This pattern continued for a few minutes until finally California Kid ripped out another loud flatulent emission. Taxi Boy couldn't take it any more! He sat up straight in his chair and then leaned over the privacy shields between them and said,
I thought I was going to lose it! I wanted to laugh so much, but I knew I needed to maintain professional decorum.
Who knew that you could have such a ROOTIN' TOOTIN' time in ESL class??
I definitely need to stock up on some air freshener this weekend when I head to the grocery!