Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Testing..Testing - Teaching to the Test?

I'm a cheater pants.

I like to tell myself that I'm not into rewards or bribery, and that I read Alfie Kohn and that I think Standardized tests are bunk.

The reality is that I think it's fun to give treats, I secretly wonder how Alfie Kohn really thinks his plan works for the modern society's classrooms, and I really don't want my students to do poorly on the MAPS/WKCE/LMNOPs or the QRSs.

I have never had to give a state test before. I have never even had to stand by and helplessly watch one taking place. The only thing I've ever had to do was tiptoe by the 4th grade while they tested and cursorily glance through my daughters' scores during conferences and acted liked I really was paying attention.

Now, however, I do have to give these tests. Believe me, I feel an awful lot of pressure for my Fab 4s to perform. It's sick.

Somewhere halfway between rah-rahing them to good performances and guilt over making them spend a week taking these hideous things I found these ideas on pinterest:

So clever!

I decided to make some treats myself. I started with the key test taking strategies that we teach the kids:
Keep a good pace
Eliminate answers you know are wrong
Double-check your answers
Go back and reread, check for answers in the text
Underline important parts of the question (only if they can write on the tests without getting penalized)

Test day came and the Fab 4s arrived to find this:

This is the label....

Inside they found this:

The individual labels look like this....
Given with a baggie of pretzels

Given with a baggie of Lucky Charms

Given with two Toostie Rolls

Given with two Oreos

Given with a couple pieces of Doublemint gum

Did the Fab 4s like them? Yes, indeed they did!

After they opened and enjoyed a few of the treats, they wrote their favorite strategy on an anchor chart. I loved how they still keep referring to the strategies as "The Lucky Charms one - don't just guess and rely on luck!"

You can get yourself a free copy of the labels here, along with a set of blank labels with the phrase but no strategy so you can customize them for what you need,.


  1. Super cute! I can't believe you got all that put together for your class. We just finished up 2 weeks of testing. My kiddos had to take tests in reading, writing, math, and science. And you should have seen the science test. I think there were more words on that test than the reading test. It's ridiculous! I hope the sweet treats eased your classes tension. I know that would put huge smiles on my kiddos faces. I promise not to tell Alfie. :)


    1. Gak! Type-o! I hope the sweet treats eased your class' tension. ~Amanda