Conga Line Helps Teacher’s Testing Sanity

It’s true. For many teachers, state testing has come to an end. Others may be in charge of make-ups this up coming week. Although not as daunting as in years past, my testing experience was different due to a few sanity savers with the kids. 

1.  End Day 1 with a conga line dance. The kids loved it as we celebrated their achievement of the first day’s set of tests, and I got a kick out of 24 students shuffling around to St. Germain. Freeze Dance also works well.

2. Pull out the ol’ Madlibs after Day 2’s portion is over. Nothing like a version of the Guinness World Record of “The World’s _____ Ant” with creative students. Amazing what adjectives come up when their brains have been focused on bubbling in circles all day. 

3. Chewing gum makes the world a better place. Day 3 was their favorite as gum was actually allowed at school, but only for them. It could have been the minty flavor that pumped them up for the test, but I think it was more like their excitement to do something I FORBID them to do all year long.

4. Simple, but exciting for 8 year olds…give them a water bottle with a piece of paper taped on it stating “SMART WATER..Do your best! You can do it! Proud of you!” and you’d think you had just given them the keys to an ice cream store. Add their name in typed letters, and they feel famous. Let them decorate them with Sharpies, and you are the coolest teacher ever.

Here’s the truth. Minus the gum, I do these things throughout the year to bring a little fun in the room, but there was something about putting them all together during testing week that made it even more exciting for them.

Did I freak out about the test? No. Did I want my students to be anxious? No. So because I know them, I made some adjustments to make it the best environment for them in a usually stressed out time.

I’ll need some more for next year. Any more sanity savers out there?


Molly Reed

Molly Reed

Tucson, Arizona

My classroom teaching experience has been in Tucson’s urban public schools with grades first through fifth. Beginning my eleventh year of teaching, I am the Outdoor Learning Coordinator at a Project Based Learning primary school. I am a National Board Certified Teacher (ECGen) with a BA in Elementary Education and MA in Teaching and Teacher Education from the University of Arizona.

My introduction to teaching occurred during a National Outdoor Leadership School semester which led me to work as an outdoor educator traveling throughout the United States and South America. I am interested in connecting with other educators and those interested in the changes in schools with education policy.

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