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Juliet and I just finished our week-long standardized testing. This got me thinking about my favorite things to do after the test is over. Here are a few of my favorites...
Take time for art
On test days, we usually test all morning and still have the afternoon with our students. I don't like to do any heavy academic work after the test, but I also know that I need to provide enough structure to keep my class in line. One of my favorite things to do is incorporate art activities that we never have time for on "normal" days. Jen from Runde's Room has lots of art activity ideas on her blog. A favorite every year is her "I am" poems. I love to see the great things my students write about themselves, and I know it helps their (sometimes delicate) self-esteem in the tricky adolescent years. We're working on them today, so hopefully I'll be back tonight to add some pictures, but trust me, it's worth a trip over to her blog to check them out!
Try new things
Once the test is over, I feel safe to try new, different things in the classroom. A couple of years ago, I used this time to try Flipped Classroom lessons in Math. It went so well, I did it all the next year. (I'd have done it this year too, but this class is just different.) Last year, I did book clubs for the first time. I haven't quite figured out what I'm going to try this spring, but I know whatever it is, I will be so glad to have testing out of the way so that I can take a risk on something that just might be amazing!
Teach! Just teach...
When I tell other teachers that the "big test" in our school system is given in February, it is often met with shock and sympathy. For a long time, I felt the same way, but I have recently changed my tune.
Most teachers I know spend the two months between winter break and testing teaching our hearts out, trying to get everything covered in time. We constantly feel the ticking of the clock, and it causes way more stress than it should.
But once the test is over, we're free! We are free to do what we love most, TEACH! No longer do we feel bound to curriculum pacing guides or even our own lesson plans. Students have loads of questions about a topic? Instead of feeling like we don't have enough time to spend on it, we dive right in without a care in the world. We teach the way teachers were meant to teach, and our students learn the way they were meant to learn. Free from the pressure of preparing our students for "the test," we are able to do what we do best! That is by far my favorite thing about the end of the test week.
What are you looking forward to doing after your testing is over? Has anyone else already tested like us?