Testing – as an Opportunity

student_testing_t580I could focus on the negative things that have to do with standardized testing: for students, parents, and of course teachers.  

But today I’m going to try and be positive and focus on something good that actually came out of testing this year.  Something I observed just yesterday as my fourth grade students wrote their MCAS long compositions.  They, along with many of the students in my coworkers’ classes actually, dare I say, were excited to write!  

This has been a year where my team and I have done a fantastic job, if I do say so myself, in energizing, exciting and motivating our students to do the best they possibly can.  I think that’s something we need to focus on here. That at this moment in time these 8 and 9 year old students are doing the best they possibly can do. That’s all we can ask of them. And when we create a positive environment around this test for them to do just that, then we have done our job, and our students have succeeded.

Yesterday, my students came into the classroom with smiles on their faces.  Even if they were nervous, it was a positive form of nerves: the type that can actually contribute to their doing well. We started our morning by energizing with high-knees, butt kicks, and stretches. Then we relaxed with some focused breathing and followed with a short guided meditation.  The students closed their eyes while I ran them through the day’s events that would occur, encouraging them to visualize their success throughout the day.  To my surprise, more than one kid was smiling while this was happening!  Finally, came the pep talk reminiscence of the days when I used to coach.  

After pencils were passed out, lollipops were distributed, and instructions were dictated, the students started planning their narrative with no hesitation.  It was truly a victory! For students to attack the day with a positive attitude and work diligently to put their best foot forward – what else could a teacher ask for?  They were sincerely giving it their very best!

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Article by Elizabeth Peterson

Elizabeth Peterson has devoted her life to education and to reaching out to other teachers who want to remain inspired. Mrs. Peterson teaches fourth grade in Amesbury, Massachusetts and is the host of www.theinspiredclassroom.com. She holds an M.Ed. in Education, “Arts and Learning” and a C.A.G.S. degree with a focus in “Arts Leadership and Learning.” Elizabeth is author of Inspired by Listening, a teacher resource book that includes a method of music integration she has developed and implemented into her own teaching. She teaches workshops and courses on the integration of the arts into the curriculum and organizes the annual summer Teacher Art Retreat. Mrs. Peterson believes there is a love of active, integrated learning in all children and from their enthusiasm, teachers can shape great opportunities to learn.
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