I completely agree! the focus is on memorization, especially for U.S. History standardized testing. I enjoy free-response, but have had trouble with struggling students. Still working on figuring that out, especially when schools push teachers not to fall behind and keeps us from reteaching.
I love that you ask students if decisions were justified! I love classroom arguments. They’re always so much fun! I had a hilarious Socratic seminar when teaching feudalism. One of the scenarios was their neighbor finishes their food supply irresponsibly during the winter and asks them for food. Do they offer them some of their supply, or let them starve? Or should the government/fuedal lord provide for them? There was so much clash in that conversation and they had so much fun!
I agree, and that’s the sad part. I wonder what would happen if we did away with standardized testing, but sadly, people believe teachers would get lazy.
I have not used Newsela yet. My district introduced it last year but haven’t gotten into it yet since I haven’t found articles that catch my interest, although to be fair, I only looked for one or two topics. For sure, with online teaching, I need to try using it again. I’d love to see a sample of your assignments! Maybe get an idea on how to use Newsela to its full potential!
Thanks for reading!