The excitement has begun...
✓ Taking down any evidence of learning from the walls
✓ Moving desks apart (
✓ The "go to bed early and eat a good breakfast" speech
In addition to all of this fun, I noticed today, on the eve of our first round of PARCC tests, that my little kiddos had that "look" on their faces. You know...
Those are the faces we try to avoid ALL. YEAR. LONG. I needed a way to create an open rapport about THE TEST and how they felt about it.
I needed them to know how I felt about it, too. I needed to ease into the "all I ask is that you do your own best work and I am already proud of you" speech.
Hooray For Diffendoofer Day! by Dr. Seuss was recommended to me by a co-worker (Thanks, Laura!) This book is classic Dr. Seuss- whimsical and fun, entertaining, and an easy read. Even better? It attacks the subject of a standardized test in the most kid-friendly way possible.
Students from Diffendoofer School learn all sorts of different and exciting things that aren't taught at other schools. Their dreary principal, Mr. Lowe, announces that "all schools from miles and miles around must take a special test!" Mr. Lowe says that if they don't do well, their school will be torn down and they will have to go to school in Flubbertown... where they do EVERYTHING THE SAME- ZzZzzzZZzzz.
Just when the students of Diffendoofer are starting to worry....
The book goes on to show that the students knew more than they thought they would once they took the test - the school did so well on their special test that Mr. Lowe actually smiled! He declared that day DIFFENDOOFER DAY and all the students celebrated their success!
I loved how this opened up discussion between my students and I. I was able to put to rest some of their concerns:
"I heard if we do bad, we will go back to second grade."
"I heard if we do bad, our school will shut down."
"I heard if we do bad, we will get a bad report card."
Can you imagine those worries weighing down an 8-year old through five 75-minute tests? Without this book, I doubt these concerns would have been brought to my attention. Going into tomorrow, my students know that all anyone will ask of them is to do the very best that they can do.
While my teacher-heart breaks a bit throughout testing, I'm glad that my students know how proud of them I already am - Thanks Dr. Seuss!
Don't have a copy of the book? Here is a YouTube version to play for your students!
Good luck to everyone taking the PARCC in the upcoming weeks! I'd love to hear of other 'easy read' recommendations you have that open the door for meaningful discussions - related or not related to test taking!