Saturday, March 22, 2014

Simple things to help with State Testing

Even though I'm jealous of her weekend Disney cruise, and her Florida weather in general... I'm linking up with my BBB Joanne over at Head Over Heels for Teaching for Spark Student Motivation!

Anyone who knows me knows that I don't love state testing. I'm a firm believer in the fact that good teaching will lead to my kids doing well on any test that is developmentally appropriate for them. I can't control what the state puts in front of them. And I refuse to teach to a test. So instead I challenge my kids every day at their individual levels. 

This is the first year in PA that the test is actually part of my evaluation. I won't get into the billion and one reasons that this is a's all been said before. But I will say this...I work exceptionally hard for my kids. I do what's best for my kids. I care about my kids. I hold my kids to high expectations. I teach my kids things that matter and things that will help them have a successful and happy life.  If that's not good enough for the state then I suppose they can...well, this is a family friendly blog.

Just a buck in my store! Click
the picture to check 'em out!
Now, I've done my best to give my kids the skills they need to make it in the real world. Despite that, sitting in front of a booklet full of questions for 2 hours a day for 6 days can be a little trying. So I've done some simple things to help the kids make it through. The first is that before we even take the test I'll be handing out our newest brag tag, as seen to the right. As far as I'm concerned, not flipping their desks in revolt is enough to prove that they are Champions.  :)

I'm not convinced that as an adult I could sit there for 30 minutes of instructions being read aloud to me and THEN have to keep sitting there while I worked through the reading passages, extended responses, word problems or whatever for another hour and a half without a little pick-me-up. It's bad enough that I have to walk around and "actively monitor" my kids while a pile of work sits on my desk/laptop that I could be doing. (I mean if I can't be teaching I wish I could at least get something done besides walking around and not looking at my kids' top secret test booklets...)

So as another quick little motivator/built in brain break I've prepared this little set of notes for my kids. Each day they'll get a new note, with a little treat. When they get to the point where they feel like they need to take a break and get a little pick-me-up they can eat the treat!
This set of notes is just a buck in my store too!
I know some teachers really go all out with themes and all that for the state tests. And I admit that I'm envious of them sometimes. But, I have to be honest in the fact that right now I really don't have the time to put together all of that when I have so many academic things I could be putting that energy into. After all, the school year continues for 2 months after these tests end! Maybe as time goes by I'll make a little more stuff each year to make a testing theme one day that is awesome...this year? Nope! But buying some candy, printing off some notes, laminating and cutting some brag tags...I can handle that! 

It's hard to believe that it's going to be two weeks before I can get back to full days of real teaching! And on that note, one final someecard!


  1. This will be the 3rd year that the scores are a part of our evaluations. It doesn't really get any easier to stomach. This year they printed FL teachers' scores on an online newspaper. I am at the point of not caring because no matter kids will have a hard time showing gains because they are already meeting high standards. It's such a waste of two weeks that we could be learning new things. I already know where my kids are...I don't need a test that I won't see the results from until summer to tell me. All I do care about is my kids having fun learning and becoming life long readers. Love the someecards.

  2. Nick, I despise state testing as well. I do love your Brag Tags and inspirational notes. I teach in Florida with Alison, and my school district starts testing April 14th. We have been informed that any mints/candy/food during "The Test" will cause an invalidation! Really? The only little bit of encouragement I'm aloud to give has been taken away. I'm left shaking my head.

  3. You said it all so well here, Nick! It's like you captured every teacher's feelings about testing. I often wonder if I would be able to sit through testing myself like you pondered...probably not. Here's hoping the week flies by and that your students do a "sweet" job!

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  4. I love those candy tag reminders!! Thank you for linking up, friend!! :) :)


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