State tests are coming next week. Last week we went over testing tips – general things like “pace yourself” and “It’s just one test.” We were creating a foldable that I made from an idea I saw here. In general, I am not a big proponent of devoting tons of time to”test prep.” I think my job is to teach 6th grade students to be the best readers and writers and mathematicians and historians (and until this year, scientists too). I believe that all we do in school (especially choice reading!) will help them in life, and as a side benefit, it will help them on standardized tests. We spend time looking at test prep questions almost as a genre study, so that they won’t come as a surprise during the tests.
But this is the kind of test prep I can appreciate – It says to the kids: you’ve got this, you know this, chill out and do your best. I owe it to my students to remind them that they are not only more than a test but can also be successful on the test.
One of my students asked me if they could keep the foldable with them during the test. I had to tell him “No.”
That’s the big question, isn’t it? I explained to my class that the test was standardized, that everyone’s testing experience across the state needed to be controlled, and that the state had decided that no other reference materials were allowed.
But I cringed inside as I said it.
When else in life are we allowed no references, no resources? My colleagues and I wondered about this in the hallway after school…I am still wondering.
So I will cover my word wall, my anchor charts, my posters. I will put up privacy walls between my students, and I will follow the testing code that I promised to follow. Then when this year’s tests are finished, I will uncover my walls. We will be a community of learners again, and I think we’ll use extra resources that next week. . . just because we can. Off to write a lesson where students collaborate in groups, and need a dictionary, thesaurus, online encyclopedia, almanac, and the teacher’s help….