What Mrs Sykes Can't Do...

OK.  We did our first day of county-mandated standardized testing today with my 2nd graders.  My poor little 7 and barely 8 year olds who did not know they were taking this test until Monday, when we tracked back in after our 3 week vacation.  (It was just told to us in the past month that we were doing this test!)  Who had very little experience bubbling test items on a Scantron sheet with a number 2 pencil, being sure to erase any stray marks and not redraw a circle if they accidentally erase a circle because the redrawn circle may be scored as your answer.  We practiced bubbling for 3 days.

Ick.  Double ick.  Super double-dog ick.  Years ago, I used to teach 3rd grade.  I loved teaching 3rd grade.  The curriculum was interesting, the kids had a wonderful sense of humor, and I worked with fabulous teachers. The issue was the testing.  I gave 8 standardized tests during a year, testing everything from their writing skills to  their likelihood for entering the Gifted program.  It stressed me out.  It's not developmentally appropriate to expect them to sit and stay focused for spans over 2 hours, and then use the scores to decide if they should be promoted, gifted, goat farmers, whatever...  I'll let you use your inferring skills to decipher why I don't teach 3rd grade anymore.

But I digress...  The point of this post is how I have tried this week to take the fear away from the testing.  First of all, we renamed the test "Our Time to Shine!"  We made up a little jazz-hands movement to go with it every time we said it.  It made them laugh {almost} every time.  We talked about how a test is just a way to show what a great job you are doing.  Then I had to explain that Ms. B. and I couldn't read any of the test to them.  You know me... I needed an anchor chart!  Here it is:
Well, we made it.  One child cried, and some of my struggling readers finished 40 reading questions (with passages) in 25 minutes, but we held it together as a group.  I stopped another child on number 45, reminding her that there were only 40 questions.  It took us a while to figure out all the places she misaligned. If you are in a state/district that routinely tests 2nd graders and below, my hat's off to you!!  I could barely take the stress of it today, and I have 2 more days next week...  {Breathe}  In. Out. In. Out. {wine} In. Out. {wine} That's better... ;)  How do you handle testing in your class? 

10 comments

  1. It's so much for the little ones! But you made it through!
    ❤Teri
    A Cupcake for the Teacher

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  2. We only have the end of the year math test that is on a scan sheet.... we have to start preparing soon. I like your sign!
    Staci

    Going Nutty!

    misssquirrels@yahoo.com

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  3. Awww, bless their little hearts! I used to teach 2nd and we did AIMS testing. Now I'm with my Firsties and it is SOOOOOO nice, not to stress about testing. I can just teach and have fun with my kiddos. It sounds like you did an awesome job of trying to calm your nervous kids! WELL DONE!
    ~Marie
    www.cotesclass.blogspot.com

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  4. I handle it as "No prob! We got this! Piece of CAKE!" and then I bribe them with something. =) Kidding! Kind of.
    I pinned your picture because I SO need to do that for my darlings. It's so hard to watch them need you and you can't! I agree with the {wine} part. Good luck on the other days. Mine is in April.

    Emily @ Second Grade Silliness 

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  5. I love how you make an anchor chart for everything . . . and I'm glad that our careers are not set for us in third grade because I would have certainly been shifted into the "goat farmer" category for sure . . . :)

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  6. Thanks, everyone! I appreciate the bloggy love, and you make me feel better that I'm not the only one who has to take a moment and vent every so often. Thank you for "listening!"
    ~Jen

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  7. I love your sign to help your kiddos know what you can and can't do for them during the testing.

    I'm your newest follower!
    -Megan

    First Grade Magic

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  8. Thanks for your sweet note!! Have a wonderful weekend!!

    Miss J
    Smiles, Crayons, and Endless Stories

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  9. Love the anchor chart....will definitely use it in May for state testing. Like you, I also don't think testing for such a long time is developmentally appropriate. What we do at our school is try to build stamina throughout the year, but even that is hard. I was really struggling with testing during the Fall so after Winter Break I introduced "Free Choice Friday". Free Choice Friday happens at the end of the day and students earn it if they try their best throughout the test. During this time, I bring out board games, stuffed animals, toys, crafts, or anything else they like to do. It's been working really well and motivates them too. I also give them a dance break between tests. We take a math and ela test so when we are finished with the math test, I play kid appropriate music to dance to. Hope this helps!

    -tania, your newest follower

    Live, Love, Laugh in 2nd Grade

    My TPT Store

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  10. We take ITBS in second grade...so I have to read most of the test to the little cherubs. And every page begins, "You should be on the page with the balloons at the top." I had a child on problem 45 (of an entirely different section) when I was on problem 17 READING EVERY WORD OF THE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ALOUD!

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