Slice of Life Tuesday: Testing, testing, testing…day one

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Monday morning begins with desks in a row… the NJASK test – day one of four.  It’s strange to see the classroom this way, and think of my kids sitting in these rows for the next two and a half hours, moving from section to section: reading comprehension, writing prompt, reading comprehension, writing prompt.  I clean off each desk and place name tags in alphabetical order … as well as  four peppermint Lifesavers – one for each section of the test.   Then I sit back and think over the past two weeks – we  unpacked prompts, strategized, brainstormed, and practiced timed tests.  My kids gave each part of it their best shot – even as Spring finally arrived and they longed to go outside to read.  They left school on Friday ready to arrive on Monday to “finally get it over with” (as one astute student observed), and soon they will be here – to sit in their rows with their #2 pencils all sharpened, ready to get to work.   I think I am ready, too.

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Section by section, we get through day one.  The peppermints were much appreciated, and our room is now fragrant with its scent.  The test booklets have been returned to a secure room until tomorrow, and now there is time to kill until all tests have been collected and locked away.  Groups of kids are scattered all over our classroom, playing games, reading, and “just chillin'”.  No one is talking about the test.  No one is thinking about tomorrow.  This afternoon we will take our book club books and Rice Krispie treats out to the soccer field to enjoy another beautiful Spring day as it should be enjoyed: with great book talk, in great company, stretching our thinking … learning.

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15 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesday: Testing, testing, testing…day one

  1. At least you had that wonderful celebration at the end of the day, the celebration of books! My grandson said they had to sit for four hours, could not eat, could go to the bathroom, but accompanied, & the only thing they could do when finished was read. He usually finished in two hours of the four. Sounds like punishment to me. Your peppermints are a great idea!

  2. The picture of the empty classroom in rows says a lot! You are making the very best out of this and spending the afternoon with books and rice krispie treats sounds like a lovely afternoon to me. Hoping that it’s that memory that they carry with them through the years! My kids start next week. Sigh…

  3. They got through it! The good news it they didn’t let it hurt them.They did the work and then got on to the real deal: learning. I think its not just the peppermints they appreciate.

    PS When we get playground writing done we’ll up load and LOVE to share with your students!

  4. I love your student’s comment, “finally get it over with,” a perfect way to sum up their feelings and yours. I hope there’s lots of sunshine to enjoy in the afternoons when the torture is over each day.

  5. As a teacher, I can honestly say that I felt the same way as your students..let’s get this over with. I understand the importance and value of these tests, but there has to be a better way.

  6. I love how you are keeping it in perspective. It is a part of life and school and you are just taking it as it comes. I like how you balanced the day with book clubs in the afternoon. In life there are some “have tos” but that shouldn’t take away from the joys of what we love to do. Thanks for sharing this positive perspective.

  7. Did your kids ask you if they could keep their desks in rows? Mine are intrigued with the testing set up. When I tell them that’s how classrooms were set up when I was in school, they asked how we did group work. (Of course, we didn’t). 🙂 Your day sounds just like mine. Our afternoon was laid back with an extra long read aloud and time for independent reading. Just like you, we will get through it and then go back to real learning. 🙂

  8. Great slice, Tara. Having followed you here this last year this does seem so out of the ordinary for your class. I love how your illustrated it with the lonely desk photos and then community of feet.

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