“Mrs. Beers, when are we going to stop reading novels and start getting ready for the test?” About five years ago, it was this very simple, but intuitive question that set my mind ablaze.
I can’t remember my exact words or how long it took my brain to gather my thoughts, but inside my head I was screaming, “What have we done to these kids?” Even my students are wondering if we have done enough ELA test prep! They are stressed because this isn’t their first rodeo and teachers are stressed about the preparation and outcomes.
In this moment, I am not sure if I felt prideful that I hid the words “test prep” so well from my students or began second guessing that all of my lesson planning and instruction had been all for naught.
Oh, how this wise-beyond-his-years 6th grader stopped me in my tracks, so sweet teacher friend, I want to prepare you for how you can respond when one of your students confronts you with the very same question…”When are we going to start preparing for the test?”
You say, “Goodness, Child, we have been preparing ALL YEAR! YOU ARE READY!”
It is THAT time of year AGAIN! Even though spring break may be in full swing, your brain is working on overdrive as you gear up for end of the year and state testing. I just want to let you know that your students don’t need that EXTRA test prep, because you have been working all year in a way that has been preparing them for any and everything! Trust me, I know!
You have worked tirelessly to engage your students in high interest lessons, which have made them grow as readers, writers, thinkers, speakers, listeners, and problem solvers. You have challenged their brains to think and reflect. In addition, their work ethic and effort have grown exponentially this year. Because of you, your students are capable of more than they were capable of doing last year. You are an amazing teacher and your students are lucky to have you. Yes, you! And to add a little bit of fun to this stressful time, I want to share the top 5 reasons we are ALL ready for testing to be over…
#1: You eat, sleep, and breathe student data. You can rattle off any student’s fluency rate, DRA level, and baseline testing scores for fall, winter, and spring! You are a data GOD/DESS!
#2: You should own stock in Extra Peppermint Gum, Goldfish, Starlight Mints, and fruit snacks. You have bought, bagged, and have “Testing Treat Bags” ready to go. They may or may not have been ready since January!
#3: Every word you hear turns into a testing strategy acronym. EAT! Every Achiever Tests! WINE! We Integrate Non-Stop Effort! Give me a word…I promise I can come up with a testing acronym…Students and administrators LOVE these! Feel free to turn either of these into a special testing t-shirt!
#4: Songs on your workout playlist become inspirational test prep songs. While I can’t understand half of the lyrics to today’s popular songs, they end up turning into a pump up playlist in my teacher head.
#5: You could quickly rattle off how many days, hours, minutes, and seconds your students have until they are finished with the test. You may even have a countdown spot on your dry erase board that gets refreshed each day. Don’t worry, I’m not judging. I get it! What a relief you have awaiting you very soon!
So when anyone challenges your students’ test readiness, remember, you have been preparing all year! Go get’em! Now get back to your work, work, work, work, work…