. Regurgitated Alpha Bits: On Your Mark!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

On Your Mark!

I gotta say, I’m super proud of my students’ efforts on state testing. They really are giving it their all with the Big Game is on the line.

Since testing started, the kids have been using those almighty test-taking strategies we’ve mercilessly pounded into their heads since the first day of school. Their outright refusal to use them on any test before this had me believing they might never put them to use. Obviously, they are absorbing than I suspected. (phheeew!)

Additionally, all of the students who generally treat every test like a foot race with a million dollar prize for finishing in first place are taking their time and being thoughtful about their answers.

 I never thought this day would come!

And to top it off, their level of cuteness is at DEFCON 10. On little cut-outs of our school mascot, I wrote each of them a short personalized note about how I believe in them and how proud I am of them. Once they seemed to be getting tired or losing motivation, I dropped their note on their desk and gave them a little pat on the back.

Each of their little faces lit right up!

Many of them clutched that little piece of paper in their hands for the rest of the test. Most of them saved their notes in their binders, placing them next to pictures of their families and friends in the cover.


 And where did they put the generic motivational sticker that every kid in the school got?

 Your guess is as good as mine. (Probably stuck on to someone else's back!)

 It’s good to know my kids treasure me as much as I treasure them.


Miss Teacher said...

I love the idea of giving them a personalized note during the test. Before our testing, I write each kid a short note too, but I've always left it on their desk before school the first day of testing. You better believe I'm doing it this way next year! Thanks for the idea :)

Mister Teacher said...

That sounds like a great way to motivate them! Down here in TX, even IF I was allowed to be in the room with my own kids during the test, I'm sure giving them a note would be seen as cheating. We're not even supposed to TALK to them, except to say things like, "Wake up," or "You didn't record all of your answers on the answer document."

Edna Lee said...

Oh, it may be considered cheating here too. Being told your teacher believes in you DURING a test might give them an unfair ego-boost over other kids who don't get notes. I don't really know.

I have heard about your testing rules over there in TX, and I don't doubt we'll be there soon enough too.

Future Educator said...

Hi, I'm am a education student working towards getting my degree in Business Education. I really enjoyed some of the posts on your blog. I like how you keep it real and don't sugar coat your experiences with your students. I also got a good laugh out of some of your posts. What do you think about testing and how it "determines" a school's progress?

Edna Lee said...

Hi Future Educator,

Thank you for the kind words about my blog. I enjoy writing it and am always glad to hear when someone else enjoys it too.

Ahhhh, my thoughts on testing...

There are two realities about testing that we all must accept.

1)They don't always give an accurate assessment of how our students are doing. It's the Goldilocks of education. Some students look like better students than they really are and others look like weaker students than they really are, and some look juuust right. With THAT as our premise, how are we supposed to use that data for anything?
2)Testing isn't going anywhere anytime soon, so we all have to adjust to living in the Land of Data.

I do believe in using data to drive instruction and do so every day in my classroom. That being said, a once-a-year snapshot of my students' progress tells me, and everyone else, very little.

How they do on a four day test is not as important to me as them learning to be kind to others, not being afraid of hard work, and developing positive self-images. THAT they do not assess, but I'm taking that temperature every day.