I feel like my life has been consumed by testing these last couple of weeks. There has been the countdown to testing, and now the actual five days of testing. As I have been thinking about what I want to write for this blog entry, the only thing I can think of is testing. I’ve shared in my past entries about how testing frustrates me, and how I wish there was a test that gave a true measurement of my students. But this blog entry is going to focus on how I prepare my students to actually take the test.
I know and they know that this test will be really hard for a lot of them. So instead of focusing on what they don’t know, we focused on what they are able to do. We sat down and came up with a list of things that they can do to help them take the test—their test taking strategies.
The first thing my students shared is our process for reading a story. We always read the title, figure out the genre, and then take a picture walk. Even if my students can’t read the entire passage, they know they can get information from the title, genre, and pictures. My students also shared that it is important to try your best. One of them said, “Ms. Q, it’s like you’re always telling us, just do your best.” My students continued on to say that you need to take your time and think.
On our last day together before testing, I read to my students the book Testing Miss Malarkey by Judy Finchler. To get them thinking about our story, I put up the word testing on our chart, and asked them to share their feelings about testing.
I was really impressed with how honest my students were sharing their thoughts and feelings about testing. They really are worried about failing the test, they know it’s going to be hard for them, and they are really tired of taking so many tests. I told them that it’s okay to have those feelings, but they really shouldn’t worry too much. We referred back to our test taking strategies poster, and I assured them as long as they tried their best they would not fail the test.
Throughout the read aloud of Testing Miss Malarkey, my students laughed as the adults in the story went a little crazy preparing to take the big state test. There would be a collective groan from my students, as I would pause before reading THE TEST on every page of the story. They especially loved how the teachers had a big party at the end when THE TEST was finished.
My students have been surviving testing pretty well. We’ve had a couple meltdowns, and outbursts. Overall, they are really trying so hard, and really doing the best that they can. They’ve been rewarded with Jolly Ranchers, juice boxes, and granola bars. Now with just a couple more days to go of testing, I can honestly say I am really looking forward to being finished with testing (for now) and getting back to teaching.