Testing Mood Swings!! PLUS a Testing Encouragement FREEBIE!!!

Ready or not, it's here!!!

Hi everyone!! I'm stopping in really quickly so I can share something I created today for my students!! We are starting the dreaded state testing tomorrow! This is my 12th year of teaching, BUT my first year having to be a part of state testing!! Our testing starts in 3rd grade so being in 2nd for 10 and Spanish teacher for 1, I haven't had to deal with them. It was glorious! haha :) Now, I feel like I'm having Testing Mood Swings all the time!!
I've never been a teacher to teach to a test.  Now, I follow the scope and sequence with the standards, but I try to do this in a creative way.  I love taking the standard and content my kids need to know and creating something engaging and effective.  I always think doing what's best for my kids should be priority in my book.  So I shut the door and teach.  This does bring some anxiety to me being in a testing grade.  The "what ifs" and "should haves" start creeping into my head.

What if my kids don't do as well as others who don't veer far from the line since I tend to test the waters? :) (staying close to the line is not a bad thing either, just a different style :)
What if people think that I'm not a good teacher because of my kids' test scores?
What if my kids do AWESOME?
Is what I'm doing working?

It's like one minute I'm not nervous at all, and the next, my stomach is in knots!  If you know anything about Indiana right now, we are taking a brand new test this year since we opted out of the Common Core Standard (even though, they are almost identical, just saying!).  So after finding out that kids were going to be tested for an eternity, they decided to cut the test by 3 hours a week before we could start.  I'm not going to go much further into this because I don't like the politics, but needless to say, it's a little stressful.

SOOO, once we take this test over the next 2 weeks, my 3rd graders have the big IREAD-3 test that determines if they move onto 4th grade or not.  I'm way more nervous about this test than the first.  I've been having discussions with my kids about how they feel about the tests coming up, and how this should be a celebration of what they know.

I know that kids need to be accountable, and if we're doing our jobs, we should be holding them accountable all the time in normal, everyday school activities and at life, in general.  I want to help a child grow into a wonderful person inside and out.  Creating relationships and a sense of family is EVERYTHING.  As I learned from visiting the Ron Clark Academy (post coming soon :), if we, as educators, go above and beyond for our kids, they will, in turn, go above and beyond for us.  If we nurture our relationships with ALL of our students, then they will give us their all!

I just don't think, at the age of 8 and 9, that my kids need to be stressed out and anxious about testing.  They have PLENTY of years of that coming up in their lives.  I do talk about how they want to feel proud when they turn their tests in knowing that they did their absolute bests.  We reflect on how that should feel and how they can tell when they haven't given their best.  This, however, is connected to everything that goes in life.  NOT JUST A TEST!  I had to step back for a second and think about this.  I can't control what they go home to or what they carry with them to school, but I can control how I make them feel.

I was that kid that was sooooooo nervous to take a standardized test!!
I was just like this child except my face was probably on the verge of tears!! hah
I didn't want to mess up!  I still have that problem some because I equate it to I'm not good enough.  We watched a video about the importance of not rewarding intelligence, but rewarding effort.  All through school and sports, I always felt like if I wasn't the smartest or the best, I wasn't enough.  I graduated in the top 10% of 641 kids in high school and with honors in college so it wasn't that I wasn't a great student.  I put WAY too much pressure on myself to be perfect.  I don't remember being told that I showed great effort.  I was scared to make a mistake on the basketball court just as I was in the classroom.  I knew I held back a bit in basketball because I didn't want that pressure.  When I became a teacher, I vowed to myself to try to not let that happen to my students in my room.  We celebrate the process!!!  I don't want them to be like me and still struggle with this now as an adult.  I'm way better, thank goodness haha, but it's no fun!  I want my students to feel like they are more than ENOUGH!!!

Okay, so jumping off my soap box (PHEW! :), tomorrow is our first day of testing!  Each day we test, I want to give some sort of encouragement for my students!

My kids LOVE smelly (scented) markers as much as I do!!
I get these at Target for $1.99 for a set of 4.  There are 4 themed scent packs! 
We use Crayola Pip Squeaks scented markers during literature circles when we do our Whole Brain Teaching Super Speed Reading!  They just can't get enough of them!! So, since I failed at the task of getting the correct markers for them for Christmas (I couldn't believe they weren't the smelly ones!!!), I decided to surprise each of them with one tomorrow!!!  I whipped up this little tag to go with it!!  Click on the picture below to download them for yourself!! :)
Credits: KG Fonts, Dollar Photo Club
I will add on the others I do as the week drags goes on!! Thanks so much for stopping by!!  If you are testing, I wish you all the best of luck! :)  I'm going to remember to JUST BREATHE!

3 comments:

  1. I have actually read a lot of your blog posts in the last hour. I really enjoy what you are doing here. (And as a writer of fantasy novels, I'm enjoying looking at different aspects of that when you go through them in blog post). And truly, I love world-culture building.www.babychortle.com

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  2. Thank you very much for sharing such a beautiful article.

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I always LOVE to hear from other teachers and bloggers so thank you so much for taking the time to comment!! It's so exciting to meet new people who share in your passion!