Many of you have already started, so I am behind the eight ball a bit for some folks. However, with my campus beginning the Smarter Balanced test tomorrow, I figured I would toss some ideas out just the same.
Let me back up and give you the back story on my ideas surrounding testing. (Heaven knows I love to frontload just about everything.) It only took one year of being a “testing” teacher to grasp the stress involved with the whole process. I didn’t sleep for a week and I will NEVER forget the moment when one of my little 2nd grader babes looked up at me with his lower lip quivering and tears welling in his eyes — “I can’t read this, Miss B.” I squeezed his hand with as much love as I had in me, but I had to reply, “I’m sorry sweetie, I can’t help you. Just do your best.” This dang near killed me. Needless to say, this event was burned into my brain. That next year admin dropped me down to first grade. Yes, I was cheering to be away from the heat of testing. However, I couldn’t quite get that moment from the year before out of my mind. So, when testing rolled around for the rest of the campus, I knew that I wanted to do everything I could to boost student and teacher moral during this tough time. That’s when Adopt-A-Class was born.
Adopt-A-Class is a fun project where all of the non-testing classrooms adopt a testing class. Prior to testing and throughout the week, “parent” or non-testing classes go out of their way to brighten a class full of test takers 🙂 It doesn’t have to be anything major . . . friendly letters delivered the day before the test, a surprise snack after the first day of testing, motivational classroom murals and posters made by the little kids on campus . . . anything to show these students that they are supported.
A campus generally needs about a week to get this one going. However, I have put it together in less than 5 days. You just need a teacher or small group of teachers who are willing to step up and man the process.
With this said, I have made a packet with everything ready to go (plus lots of other fun and easy ideas for surviving testing). I broke all the rules and made a LARGE freebie a few years back and it just received a much needed facelift. In my heart of hearts, I just couldn’t charge for this then . . . and I can’t charge for it now. Moral boostin’ and feel-good ideas and activities should be free in my book. Also, just for the record, I do want to state that I posted this packet in it’s original form in 2012 prior to the 10 page freebie rule – just sayin’ 🙂 (Can you tell I don’t like to break rules??!!)
If you haven’t started testing yet, you’re all set with this one. If you have, download it for next year! What do you have to loose . . . it’s free??!!
This fun little tune from Ron Brown’s Intelli-Tunes is all about doing your best on the test. If you are running with Adopt-A-Class, and you have time, you can get you babes to learn this one and perform it for your testing class. If you aren’t, share it with your music teacher or admins. They can play it for the testing grades 🙂 The best part about this one . . . it’s FREE too 🙂 Click the image below and find the freebie called Best On the Test.
I am sneaking up to our campus later today to decorate (fingers crossed parents or fellow teachers don’t read this before tomorrow . . . I want it to be a surprise). I have a bunch of butcher paper signs to hang in the hallways. I’m also going to decorate the sidewalks with inspirational messages in chalk. Finally, I have a collection of funny/motivational posters to hang on all of doors of those classrooms that will be testing. I know that I won’t be able to get up early enough to pull it off in the AM, so tonight it is . . . my sweet mother is helping me be all sneaky. All I will have to do tomorrow is hang the balloons at the school entrances. (I should be able to handle one task before the kiddies show up.)
WALK OF WINNERS
This one is my favorite. It was started years ago at our school by a wonderful teacher named Nancy Henley. When she retired, I took it over. The walk of winners is a cheer line that takes place on the first morning of testing — it kicks off the day. For this stunt, the non-testing students line a hallway and all of the testing kiddos walk through it while you blast fun upbeat music. This is a brilliant idea. ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT. Nancy nailed this one 🙂
All of the notes you need to get this one going are in the freebie packet from above. It outlines the process and contains an editable note template (as well as some sample notes). I think I made this pretty easy on ya. You just need access to a powerful radio or speaker system, some fun tunes loaded on your iPod or iPhone, and teachers who are willing to mess with their morning schedules for about 15 minutes. This event ALWAYS makes me cry (I have to wear my dark sunglasses) and this year will not be any different. It’s a moment that kids (testing and non-testing) will NEVER forget.
|You see all of your old students roll through with big old grins on their faces.
It just seems to lighten the mood for everyone – students and teachers.
I am crying just writing about this experience.
I am in big trouble tomorrow! #passthetissues
|I will be cheering my heart out for these sweeties tomorrow.
They are big 4th graders now.
Yes, I’m still crying a little.
|Hootin’ and hollerin’ with grins from ear to ear 🙂
The love and support oozes from our cheer line.
Alright, there you have it . . . just a few ideas to help your school survive a run of testing. My FREEBIE packet contains oodles of other ideas to toss into the mix — breakfast of champions, ready-made badges, smart snack ideas, etc. CLICK HERE to check it out. My goal is to ease kids into the testing process and make them believe that they are control of the test. Sure, all of our kids are not going to ace the big bad test. AND . . . let’s be honest . . . these stunts aren’t really going to change many scores (if any). However, if we can keep lower lips from quivering, ward off unnecessary tears, and put a few smiles on some faces, I have done my job with this collection 🙂