Five Ways to Disrupt State Testing

State testing is a drag. For many of us, it can be a two or three-week adventure filled with multiple hours of testings. It cuts into our days, messes with schedules, and (honestly) is just boring for everybody. I could continue to give you a plethora of reasons why this testing time of the year stinks, but I'll spare you.  Instead, I’m going to give you five reasons why you should use it to your advantage.

At my school, we tend to have testing in the morning, which means the afternoons usually are pretty wide open. BUT with scheduling, specials, PE, pull-outs, and elementary school life the days becoming a little wild. But it is different everywhere, so your schedule probably won't match up with mine--but that's okay, so here we go.

FIRST: Give your students to time of Genius Hour
 Let your students pick what they want to do with a Genius Hour. It’ll allow kids find something that interests them and they can go wild with it. Recently our students did this, and the subjects chosen were amazing! There was the impact of Star Wars special effects, the Black Plague, therapy dogs, bearded dragons, endangered elephants, global warming, and so many more. When asked, each student remarked their favorite part aspect was learning about something that interested them.

SECOND: Power through a book (or more) with your class
This one might seem kind of simple because it is. Seriously, take extra time and read a book with your class 2-3 times longer than you would during a non-test day. We know how much our students love it and we know how important it is for them, but read aloud time does not always happen. 

Take the extra time and power through. Shoot, see if you can get through two of them. I’m not telling you to use all the time, but if you want too...

THIRD: Pick a Project Based Learning activity
I like PBL’s that can be completed in the class because it means the kids did all the work and worked together. PBL’s can vary, but I love self-contained resources that allow for differentiation while being completely original to each student. Pictured below is GEOMETROCITY but you can find OVER 60 other PBL's here.

No matter how much we say it, science NEVER gets enough love during the year. Because it is NOT reading and math. Change that and spend a day (or two or three) and create STEM challenges for your classroom. All those simple supplies you have sitting in your closet, you know the ones that haven’t been thrown out for 7 years --get them out and put them to use.

Build bridges, create buildings, design paper airplanes and test them all out. It. Does. Not. Matter. Push your students with a day of STEM- it’s all learning even if it doesn’t have a standard on it.

FIFTH: Spend it with the Arts
Just like science, the arts get left behind too. Don’t let it happen. Talk with your art teacher or find a resource and DO a longer activity with your students. Arts matters. Let your students experience it.  I'm not going to tell you what to do or how to do it, I'm just imploring that you try it out with your students. They'll remember it.

Disrupt testing season by expanding focus and time for a couple of days. Slow down and enjoy those times with your students. It might feel like we still need to plow through curriculum even when we’re testing. But don’t. Just don't. And your students will thank you for it.

If you're looking for more ideas to disrupt your testing season check out my resource below.