AzMERIT is upon us. Here’s how to survive … and thrive! Testing season is here. And no matter how you truly feel about them (let’s go ahead and save that for another article), we’re all in this together. The good news? We’re here to help you keep more than just your cool — we’re here to help you paApr 03, 2018
AzMERIT is upon us. Here’s how to survive … and thrive!
Testing season is here. And no matter how you truly feel about them (let’s go ahead and save that for another article), we’re all in this together. The good news? We’re here to help you keep more than just your cool — we’re here to help you pass through those testing days with ease.
Before the test…
- Stand together with your fellow teachers. Build each other up and maintain your collective sanity by sharing test prep tips and materials. Support each other when you’re feeling frustrated, but put time limits on venting sessions, which can quickly turn draining and unproductive.
- Continue building class relationships as big testing days approach. Just because there’s a big test coming up doesn’t mean your classroom demeanor or emotionally-supportive climate should change. Keep up your cooperative learning and your small group activities. Stick to utilizing engaging resources. Stay positive. Encourage unity and teamwork. Many of our students wake up on testing day already feeling defeated. Help students understand that each test is an opportunity to show improvement.
- Teach your kids the testing basics. Kids have a right to understand what the tests are for, why they have to take them, and how scores could affect them — without scare tactics or added stress. Help ease their minds by teaching a few testing strategies like how to read instructions and how to manage their pacing. Encourage them to talk positively to themselves. Help students lower their anxiety by teaching them some relaxation exercises. These are lifelong, valuable skills.
The day of testing…
Go time! Let’s assume you did the following:
- Got good sleep and ate a decent breakfast, which you’ve been promoting to your students.
- Prepped the testing space. Put out fresh boxes of tissues and wipe the surfaces.
- Wrote a positive message for your kids. Bonus points if you did it in sidewalk chalk outside your door.
You did all that? OK, then we’re free to talk about the absolute worst part of standardized testing. Two words: Active. Monitoring.
Avoid the “active monitoring blues” during test sessions by turning it into personal entertainment. This tip is a bit silly, but there is absolutely nothing more mind-numbing than the torturous boredom of monitoring (cough-cough-preventing-cheating-cough) students while they test. Different campuses and different tests have their own rules, but we know these times ban us from talking, grading, technology, and a myriad of other possible kid-distractors. I mean, 10 minutes of having nothing to do could be a nice break. But several hours? Entire days? Insanity sets in. Here are a few suggestions we came up with to keep your mind from being anesthetized:
- Put in a stealthy workout. Wear a pedometer or a Fitbit and track how many miles you walk in your own classroom. Do calf raises and wall sits in the back of the room.
- Plan how you would survive during a zombie apocalypse using only the items in your classroom.
- Pretend you are the Sorting Hat and decide which Harry Potter house each student would be in at Hogwarts.
- Hide a secret treat. If your campus allows it, sneakily snack on something silently scrumptious. Put a smoothie in your travel coffee mug. Hide hard candy in your pockets.
- If drawing or writing are allowed, print out seating charts or calendars that you can fill in while you make figure eights around the room.
- Make up acronyms or goofy nicknames for each of your students. Share them after testing.
- Test out different flavors of gum to see which brand loses its flavor the fastest.
- If all else fails, you could attempt the maneuvers in this belly laugh-inducing video clip, but we’re not suggesting it (officially).
You’ve got this, and so do your students. Put the focus on achieving progress together and be sure to take care of your students, your staff, and yourself — creatively, if need be. Hang in there! And let us know how you plan on using that document camera during the apocalypse.