The students flew into the room yesterday as if they were a hurricane. They were full of energy, the kind that's great for a whole day of play, but not the kind that's best for standardized tests, the kind of tests they would be taking in a short time that morning.
I had arrived at school in good time, and was ready for the day. I didn't expect their energy burst though and became a bit distraught. The test coordinators arrived and helped me settle down the crowd and find the needed test script. After a stern talk about following the schedule and being ready for the day, everyone settled down and took the tests.
As they tested, I thought about their energy. It was our fifth standardized test--they're getting tired of these tests. Some students who had been away returned--other students were happy to see them. The new desk order was a bit disconcerting too--I've been changing the desks a lot to accommodate the different teaching goals--tables for science activities, a 3/4 square for testing, and more configurations. It was also a hot day--the room was already humid and there's a lot of us (27) in that relatively small room. And the room was still quite messy from last week's STEAM activity.
As I thought more about it, I realized that a good clean-up and class meeting would help us get back on track so when everyone was done with the tests, we did a lot of cleaning--we cleaned desks, the floor, and surrounding cabinets and shelves. Later in the day we had the class meeting that essentially reviewed all the great activities and projects we have planned for the weeks ahead and the kinds of effort and responsibility needed to make those special events and adventures a success. After that one of my colleagues came by to review the big biography project students are working on--they listened well as she gave a brilliant review of the project steps and requirements. I learned a lot too which will help me help them.
So today there's another test--the last big standardized test of the year--yeah!!! Then we'll have time for biography study, math tech, and play practice. In a sense we'll get back to a more regular routine, and all teachers know students typically do quite well when there's a routine of some sort in place. Onward.