Thursday, May 24, 2012

Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3

We are 2/3rds of the way done with our 4th grade Standards of Learning Assessments this year (for you non-Virginians, that abbreviates to the SOL... and yes, I can think of a few other things those letters can stand for). We took the Reading Test on Monday, May 21st and Social Studies on Wednesday, May 23rd. It's kind of crazy that we spend 165 days teaching and learning, and then they have one day to prove they can read. But, such is life.

To give my kids a little motivation and show I support their best efforts, I made them a "Brainy Breakfast" each testing day. On the first day, I made "breakfast cookies"... I googled a recipe and made one with wheat germ, yogurt, and other 'healthy stuff'. They came out looking a little like fake vomit (according to my sister, Stacy) and felt kind of like a rubber pancake. I got nothing but rave reviews about them, though, so apparently my students are good at not judging a book by its cover! :) With the cookies, I gave them each 2 strawberries, a bottle of water, and a pack of Smarties. On each plate, being ever so creative, I wrote, "You're one smart cookie! Do your best!"

On Wednesday, I gave them each a "Breakfast Cereal Muffin," 3 orange slices, and a pack of Smarties. On these plates I wrote, "You're smart, 'orange' ya? Show me what you know!" I only heard one kid read it aloud (incorrectly, had to explain the pun), so don't know that they a) read it or b) understood it, but whatever. I thought it was funny. :)

Our final SOL is a week from today (May 31st). It's the Math exam. I've already been asked by my students what breakfast I would be making and by friends what 'catch phrase' would be on their plates. If you have any ideas, feel free to share! (I'm thinking something along the lines of "I'm going BANANAS for good test scores!") Thoughts?

Although I try to stay as positive and encouraging as possible, there are a few times where I almost lost it. To close, let me share with you a few questions teachers do NOT want to hear on testing day:
1) (10 minutes after being in the classroom, seeing me in my testing shirt, while eating their "Brainy Breakfast") Do we have an SOL today? No, this is just what we do every morning, right?
2) What SOL do we have today? Well, considering I've been announcing for about 3 weeks that our first SOL was Reading, it says on the board that today we have the Reading SOL, the calendar has had a "Reading SOL" square on May 23rd since the beginning of the month, I'm going to go ahead and guess that maybe we have the Reading SOL. Just a hunch.
3) (Halfway through the Social Studies SOL...) Have we learned this yet? Considering this is the cumulative test for the entire 4th grade curriculum, I would sure hope so! But, let's be honest, I can't vouch for what you've LEARNED, I can only account for what I've taught. And yes, I have taught this.