Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Very Big Deal Government Mandated Test

It's Testing Season.

Oh yippee.

And yes, I'm still trying to figure out why we hold tests six weeks before the end of school.  As far as the kids are concerned, they are DONE, DONE, DONE, after the VBDGMT, but goodness, we still have six weeks to keep them calm, working on something, and hopefully passing on to the next grade.  It's like herding cats. Except cats behave better (at least mine do).


We've done the massive, long, and relentless Reading and Language Arts on Tuesday.  Not bad.  No one fell asleep (in my group at least).  One of my girls thought she was going to throw up so I put her by the door (and trashcan) and told her if she thought she was going to lose it to "run like the wind" to the bathroom.  She survived.  Math was today.  Some kids didn't finish and just ended up guessing, but that's par for the course.  Tomorrow is science, and then Friday is social studies.

The kids are, doing great during the test, behavior-wise.  We did have two kids who we were worried about being disruptive in a regular classroom, and we were able to get them in a small group testing situation which works out better for all involved.

After the test, however, they have completely lost their minds.

I had to break up an "almost-fight" in my fourth period class today which resulted in a complete change of plans in terms of lessons as my kids all ended up writing witness statements about what happened so I could attach it to the discipline form.  Lucky for us, no punches were thrown, but it still was pretty disruptive and got the kids a bit upset.  I should have taken a grade on the witness statements, come to think of it.

And that was just fourth period.  Every other class was loud, disruptive, argumentative, and generally just hard to get them settled and focused.  And it wasn't just my team.  The Principals spent the whole afternoon putting out fires as the kids pretty much just exploded after testing was done and we had fights and disruptions all over the place - and we haven't had that this year with our Positive Behavior Support plan in place.

So, tomorrow, if the weather is nice, The Enforcer is going to come up with a plan that will allow us to take the kids outside to blow off some steam.  They need it.   (And yet again, another reason why I feel that middle schoolers still need recess!)  Hopefully we can wear them out to the point where they won't have the energy to cause any trouble.


Anonymous said...

Love your blog! (Long-time lurker and fellow TCAP prisoner...)

Our AP planned the Reading/LA testing day like this: test Part 1 in the morning, lunch then into the gym for homeroom competitions, and finally, test Part 2 in the afternoon. We were, to say the least, skeptical. Well...

After the obligatory knock-down, drag-out between two 7th grade girls at 8:55 am, the day went on. And surprisingly, the afternoon testing was MUCH calmer than I have ever seen! The competitions were much fun...hula hoop, egg hunt, dance, and wheelbarrow race. Even the adults got into it! Afternoon testing went super smoothly, and the hour between testing and dismissal was...well...just QUIET. A miracle, I'd say, in a school with 1100 kids. :) Now I'm wishing he'd set this schedule for all four testing days...

CozyStitches said...

Thankfully here we are allowed to watch non-educational movies in the afternoon. We had testing on Mon, Tues, a break on Wed (which I tried semi-educational game but then found out we could do a movie), then more testing today and friday. Sigh.

Elaine said...

I feel your pain... we just finished ours - high school version. And now we have our classes tomorrow. And then spring break starts monday.

How much do you want to bet the kids will be channeling squirrels, cats, and other hard to handle critters tomorrow?

W.R. Chandler said...

Today is our third and final day of testing. We do three minimum days for testing:

Wed -
9:30-11:20 Language Arts Part 1
11:20-11:30 Break
11:30-1:20 Math Part I
11:20-11:52 Lunch

Thu and Fri are similarly scheduled with the rest of Lang Arts, Math, Science, and Social Science being plugged into the time windows.

Several years ago, my school dragged out testing for a whole week by having testing in the morning, then an abbreviated schedule in the afternoon where students would attend all their classes.

I HATED this schedule. The periods were too short to get anything done, and the students were out of their minds.

I LOVE the testing schedule we use now.