Finally. Freaking. Done. With. Testing.
It has been a long, long, long week.
The kids did great during the actual testing part of the day, probably because they wanted to earn their pay, and because they knew I'd probably go psycho-postal if they so much as made a peep. I think the thought of me being psycho-postal is enough to scare even the most hardened seventh grader.
The challenge was keeping these turkeys quiet during the time between when all the testing material was collected and when I was allowed to dismiss them to their first period class. Not everyone was testing on the same schedule. Some grade levels were doing different subjects, with different times, and then there was special ed extended time, read aloud, and later in the day, the make-up testing. And then there's always the rooms around us who may have started a few minutes after us, or before us, so perhaps weren't done. After being so wonderfully quiet for the test, they wanted to really let off some steam when they were done. On Wednesday they got really loud and I was about ready to hit the psycho postal stage, and the look in my eye scared them and they quieted down. I knew, however, that it was only a momentary fear.
On Thursday I had, amazingly, a stroke of genius. I have no idea where it came from but it came, thank goodness.
I grabbed my packet of white paper for the printer. "Okay, everyone, here's the deal. I'm going to let you all talk all you want, but there's a catch. You have to write it down."
"You mean we can write notes?" one of the kids asked, incredulously.
"Exactly," I said as I put white paper out on each table. "You're going to write notes. You can write notes, play hangman, play tic tac toe, whatever, as long as you do not speak a word or make a sound."
A murmur went through the class. This is so cool! She's going to let us write notes!
On particularly paranoid hand went up. "Are you going to read them?"
"No, as you leave the room you're going to put them in the recycle bin," I answered. Frankly at this point, I didn't care what on earth they'd write as long as they'd be quiet.
"What if we want to write a note to a person at another table?" another asked.
"Then you raise the note in the air, and wait for me to come get it and I'll play mailman and deliver it." Why not? At this point I was simply waiting for the clock to tick away as well so I could go deliver my testing materials to the check in point.
They loved this idea. Heads went down, pencils scratched, notes went into the air, and I delivered mail all around the room. They played hangman, tic tac toe, and drew pictures of their favorite Japanese cartoon characters. The key thing is they were quiet.
Score one for me.