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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Happy Testivus!

That Texas-sized sigh you may have heard yesterday probably came from all of the third graders who are done TAKS testing for the year. Or, more likely, it came from all of the third-grade TEACHERS who are done stressing over the TAKS tests for the year. Sure, we don't know how the kids did or what their grades are, but what's done is done -- no use stressing over the results now.
Yesterday, as seems to be the case annually, was the longest day of the school year. I don't know if Joshua was blowing his trumpet to keep the sun in place in the sky (bonus points if you caught that reference), or if it just seemed like time had stopped, but whatever the reason, the day felt like it would never end. I'm not allowed to discuss the test, or any of the questions contained within, but that won't stop me from ranting about the testing procedure itself.
First of all, it is mandated that just about everything in the school that contains print or numbers must be covered up. This means that I had to spend about an hour on Monday stapling butcher paper to my walls to cover up bulletin boards, my word wall, the number line, and just about everything else that was too big or too high to take down. You know, I can understand the need to take down or cover up posters, signs, and boards that contain mathematically-related items, but some of this is just downright silly! I have an alphabet strip running the length of the wall above my Whiteboard, and I had to cover up the letters! I'm so sure that a student is going to be immersed in the TAKS Test, look up at those letters, and in a flash of insight, suddenly comprehend the answer to the question he was stuck on for 20 minutes. "Thank you, Cursive P! You saved my bacon once again!"
On TAKS day, the kids do absolutely nothing BUT take the test. There is no PE, no recess, no lunch break in the cafeteria. The kids do eat lunch, but they have to get their food and bring it back to the classroom. Actually, it may have been a blessing that we had no recess yesterday. The temperature was over 100°, up there in the range where M&Ms melt in your hand, not in your mouth.

But now it's over, for yet another year. Today was arguably just as long seeming a day. Although WE didn't have to take any tests, several other grades in the school WERE taking another test. So we had to keep quiet out of consideration for them. Once again, there was no PE, no recess, and lunch was brought back to the classroom. To occupy some time, and to have a little fun, we played a few games of Multiplication Bingo in my room after lunch. The kids all had bingo boards, and I would call out a multiplication problem for them to solve, and see if they had the product on their board. I was watching the three boys in front of me, and whenever they would get a number on their board, they would do some sort of ridiculous seat-dance to celebrate. It reminded me of professional football players who tackle a guy ten seconds into the first quarter of a game, and then get up and strut around like they've just been named MVP of the Super Bowl. I'm just thankful that none of my kids pulled a Sharpie out of their sock...
Tomorrow, the schedule will be back to normal. Also, the district has finally allowed for the hot temperatures, and initiated the Summer Dress Code. No more neckties! Tank tops and Daisy Duke shorts from here until June, baby! Well, maybe I'll just save those for the casual Fridays.

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