9 days, 66 sharpened pencils, 297 healthy snacks and 33 peppermints a day and our state’s standardized test will be completed. 4th graders across Colorado will begin CSAP testing on Monday, March 1. We are ready for the game to begin.
Standardized testing and I have had a rocky relationship. Over the years I have tried to get better at viewing testing time positively so I can be a better example for my students. Isn’t attitude everything? 5 years ago I came up with a strategy that not only helped my attitude but created a fun experience for my students during testing season. Yes, I said fun.
Here is what one student said after testing was over last year; “Ahhhh CSAP is over? I wish it was longer.” Longer? Are you serious? 9 days is a lot for anyone to take a test, especially a 9 year old! See, here comes the rumble. This coach needs to focus on getting the players through this game. No negative thinking allowed!
So what did I do to make it fun? I started calling the state test the Super Bowl. 4th graders on one team and CSAP on the other. I refer to the opposing team as the bad guys. Of course we are the good guys. My players are ready for the bad guys sneaky plays and ruthless shenanigans.
The Super Bowl is the game of all games for football. Our Super Bowl is the game to show how much growth in learning we accomplished. We learn strategies to outsmart the bad guys. Students focus on being a team. We even huddle up after some am cardio, form a circle, interlock our arms around each others shoulders and jump and chant motivational words to pump us up. We believe in each other. We encourage each other. The sense of team takes the pressure off of self.
Creating test taking strategies is important to me. Growing up I stunk at taking tests. Stress clouded my knowledge. This murkiness caused panic and I consistently did poorly. Perhaps, if I felt a part of a team or testing was a game, I probably would have performed better. State standardized testing is a fact of life. As teachers we all strive to take difficult tasks and make them bearable for our students. That’s what the Super Bowl is all about.
Coming soon to my blog: Part 2 Detailed list about pregame warm-ups