My classroom is not a quiet, orderly place.
Students are constantly moving, thinking, talking, reading and writing.
I do my best to help my students find success.

March 4, 2014

Thinking Bubble SOLC #4

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Two Writing Teachers

It's state testing week at our elementary school.  Aren't you jealous???  (UGH)

I'm hosting three 4th graders in my room as an accommodation.  I had each of them as a student at some point during the past 4 years, so it's a little reunion.  Everyone is comfortable with each other.

I told them at the beginning of the reading test that I would not be able to answer any questions or read any words for them.

"Rats!  I was counting on that!" exclaimed H, with a grin.  We used to work one-on-one in second grade.  She's got significant reading challenges, but she's got some great life strategies.

"Tell us again.  Will we get a grade on this test?" asked H.

S assured her.  "It's a state test.  You don't get a grade." He can get anxious, so I assured all three that the state wants to know what 4th graders know and what we need to teach them in 5th grade.

This afternoon, I gave them the math test with a reader's script.  Since I was reading each question, H thought talking was okay.

"I think I've got this one!" exclaimed H.
"Shhh!  It's a test!" whispered A. (He's the quietest of the group.)
"That one was easy for me!" said S.

I decided to introduce the "Thinking Bubble."  It's a genius idea from my friend, Amy, one of our second grade teachers:  "You know, H, this is still a test, even though I'm reading the questions.  You'll need to use your thinking bubble.  Don't just blurt out.  Keep your ideas in your head.  I'll give you time to talk and share when the test is over."

"I can do that," said H.  "Can you?" she asked S.
"Yeah," S replied.

We'll have to talk about the Thinking Bubble again tomorrow.  I know I need to be better about using my Thinking Bubble during meetings.  I'm not great at waiting my turn.  I'm glad I work with patient teachers and students.


  1. Ah, yes, the thinking bubble. We all need that reminder! Sometimes at school, but I probably need to remember my thinking bubble more so at home!! Love this story and how it all played out! Hang in there with the testing!

  2. Love the "thinking bubble" concept. Soon this testing will pass. In the meantime, enjoy being with your students from yesteryears.

  3. Your students sound like they are quite comfortable with you giving the test....and that you have done your best to answer their anxieties. I can just picture this going on...and in my picture I see all these little Thinking Bubbles. Good luck on these tests...and no, I am not glad I am retired now that testing seems to be the focus. Jackie

  4. I know some 7th graders who could use their thinking bubbles--and some of their teachers. We often joke that teachers often act like their students in teacher's meetings. Good luck with your state testing. We start next week.

  5. Great idea - not only for your kids, but for us adults who have a tendency to "talk out of turn". Good luck with the rest of the week.

  6. The Thinking Bubble! Nice, I'd rather see those kids using the thinking bubble on an Apple Computer, instead.

  7. I have a student that this strategy work be perfect for! She is a blurter! Think I'll try this tomorrow!

  8. I love this idea of "holding" your thoughts .....great image!

  9. Teaching kids to hold their thoughts is such a tough job! I like the idea of a "thinking bubble!" I will use it for myself, too. ;-)

  10. What a nice way to say that.

  11. I love the idea of a thinking bubble. Think I need it more than my students do.