I promise I responded, but I was surprised to see my comment was not here anymore (or maybe never at all). So, forgive me for a quicker version, but here it goes:
Assessment is here to stay, and I too spent much of my first weeks giving out mandated assessments. Test, test, test. It's part of the monster, so don't beat yourself up about using class time for any test prep. In fact, I'd be worried for you if you didn't include some. It just doesn't need to be a diet...minor connections and applications. For example, if you have been focusing on questioning for a reading strategy, how does that apply to standardized testing? Take a short passage and have students ID which questions are thick vs. thin questions. Thin questions require highlighting where the answer was found, while thick questions require strategically eliminating wrong answers.
I think this will answer your other question on assessment. Assessment types- It takes a few minutes to give the above assessment, while class time is spent on reading. Rubrics, our reader's notebooks, writing about our reading, Dinah Zike flip books, and yes, an occasional worksheet. The world will keep on turning, and you'll still be considered a great teacher by your students, faculty, and parents. I promise. :)
Finally, based on my grade level last year, our team had a variety of teaching methods and styles. Our test scores were pretty close to each other in the literacy department. The important question is which style makes the life-long impact that has meaning? I'll let you decide that for yourself...I've figured that one out for sure.
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