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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Testing! Testing 1, 2, 3!

People. I.am.tired.

Not just oh-I-think-I'll-turn-in-a-little-early-tonight tired. No, it's more like putting the peanut butter in the refrigerator and coffee creamer in the cabinet tired. Like falling asleep while reading Good Night Moon causing your four-year-old to pry open your eye lids and yell, "Mommy, you felled asleep!" tired. Like 6 weeks into life with a newborn tired.

Who knew that watching your kids spend a couple of hours in front of computer screens for state testing while you walk around making sure everything is okay, but at the same time being super careful not to really *look* at all the secret information in front of them, could be so exhausting!

I'm beat!

Anyway, we've been PARCC-ing every day like crazy... well, except for today, when the whole state of NJ got to take a little testing respite from PARCC-o-mania because the system crashed. (And let me just say... I'm proud to be a teacher always, but today, I was absolutely bursting with pride for my peeps! With no more than a few minutes notice that the test was cancelled, teachers frantically pieced together a new schedule, along with lessons and activities, LIKE A BOSS in order to keep our kids rockin' and rollin' throughout the day! Whoever says teachers "resist change" should have watched our crew in action. Undoubtedly, teachers are some of the most flexible and "roll with it" kind of folks I know!)

Since most of you are likely in the middle of testing, or getting ready to test, I wanted to take a minute to share with you some of the things that I've found to be helpful during this time. This is my 11th year giving some form of a standardized test, so I've definitely got a few tricks up my sleeve.

What I have found is that you need to really balance between fun and mindless and hardcore academic. If you let kids totally veg and party on each day after the test, you will find that it's almost impossible to rope them back in and take the next 6 weeks seriously. But, you also don't want to hammer them with business-as-usual work. The kids are tired. Those tests take a lot of mental stamina. They won't put their all into anything you give them if it's too difficult, so save the tough stuff for another time.

1. Educational Activities Disguised as a Movie!



After our first session of testing, we read the story "Young Arthur" from our anthology. Then, for the next few days after our testing sessions were finished, we watched Disney's "The Sword and the Stone." (Hold the phone! You won't believe how many of my kids had never seen it!!) While watching, the kids completed the Movie Notes sheet from my newest freebie:


After the movie was finished, they compared the two versions.

So... compare and contrast? Totally educational! Watching a movie? Totally fun! See what I did there?!?


2. Fun, But Mindless, But Sorta Educational, But Super Interesting Activities. 



Last year, we were all about the adult coloring book stuff, but this year, dot-to-dot is our jam! This Extreme Dot to Dot book came from Mindware (my favorite kids store!) and it's been awesome! I am My kids are a bit obsessed. After everyone is finished testing, I hand these out and I the kids go to town. It's drawing... so that's fun. And it's dot-to-dot, which is counting, so it's obviously educational! The perfect balance.

3. Sugar.

This needs no explanation.


Print yourself some cute, little motivational things (like these FREEBIES), stick a piece of candy on each one, and watch a smile appear across the face of each and every one of your cherubs! They will love them and love you for thinking of them. 

So, those are my three favorite survival tips for state testing. What are your favorite tips and tricks? I'd love to hear from you!

Happy Testing Teaching!!


2 comments:

  1. Thank you for taking the time to share your ideas for testing week. I teach 5th grade and we had State Testing on the computer this year which was a master schedule 2 fits all of the three through five grades in and it lasted over a month. We also had our district testing in the classroom off and on. So we had to come up with some sunplus academic activities as well. We had read the novel The Island of the Blue Dolphins comma and I gave them a choice of two projects to work on during those last two or 3 weeks of school when we were all so inundated with many other activities such as talent show and awards assemblies and field trips. While reading the novel we hit a lot of the common core standards but afterward we were able to use it for our projects. I had the kids choose two of the following: a diorama including a book summary, a 3D poster, character spotlight bookmark, a collage (cutting pics from old magazines) and writing 5 or more sentences about why they chose them, a CD cover and they had to come up with song titles for the back that had to do with the book, and a story quilt.
    The kids loved working on these whenever we had that I'm that was not designated for something else it took them quite a while and they enjoyed it. Thanks again for all your ideas.
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for taking the time to share your ideas for testing week. I teach 5th grade and we had State Testing on the computer this year which was a master schedule 2 fits all of the three through five grades in and it lasted over a month. We also had our district testing in the classroom off and on. So we had to come up with some sunplus academic activities as well. We had read the novel The Island of the Blue Dolphins comma and I gave them a choice of two projects to work on during those last two or 3 weeks of school when we were all so inundated with many other activities such as talent show and awards assemblies and field trips. While reading the novel we hit a lot of the common core standards but afterward we were able to use it for our projects. I had the kids choose two of the following: a diorama including a book summary, a 3D poster, character spotlight bookmark, a collage (cutting pics from old magazines) and writing 5 or more sentences about why they chose them, a CD cover and they had to come up with song titles for the back that had to do with the book, and a story quilt.
    The kids loved working on these whenever we had that I'm that was not designated for something else it took them quite a while and they enjoyed it. Thanks again for all your ideas.
    Julie

    ReplyDelete