I know I use a lot of superlatives, but administering standardized tests is pretty close to the worst.
Let’s stop for a second. I know what you’re thinking. “What’s so hard about handing out papers and watching students take a test? That sounds pretty cush to me. I would love to do nothing for six hours!”
Wrong-o, my friend.
The type of “nothing” that you are thinking of probably involves a lot of things—reading a magazine or a book, checking your phone, looking around idly—but this is not the “doing nothing” of standardized test administration. While administering a standardized test, the only two things you can do are 1) walk around the room, and 2) watch students take a test.
No computer/phone/technology of any kind.
No writing, drawing, doing crossword puzzles, or Sudoku.
No lunges, jumping jacks, or anything that would distract students.
No grading papers or getting caught up on work.
No sitting for more than a few minutes.
No standing in one place.
No zoning out.
The State would call this "actively monitoring." It's not that actively monitoring in itself is terrible, but, much like Chinese water torture, hours of it (and for several days at a time) will turn anyone into a crazy person.
Because of this, I've become somewhat of an expert in creating mental and physical activities that can be done while actively monitoring that won't distract children or get you in trouble. WIN-WIN! (If you're not a teacher, you can use any of these the next time you're getting an CT scan!)
16 Things You Can Do While Actively Monitoring During Standardized Testing:
1. First of all, wear a pedometer. Set up a contest with other teachers to see who can get the highest step count during the day. Whoever wins gets, I don’t know, a bottle of 100 year-old single malt scotch. Hahaha. Just kidding (or am I?) But make it something good.
2. Do a few laps around the room pretending to be an Olympic speed skater during a slow-motion replay.
3. Walk down the rows imagining you’re:
- walking down the aisle to marry your favorite celebrity and all the students are wedding guests
- on the red carpet in the most awesome dress/tux of your LIFE and all the students are paparazzi
- walking the plank on a ship and all of the students are pirates
- walking in a cemetery and all the students are ghosts
- scuba-walking on the bottom of the ocean floor and all your students are sea creatures
- a flight attendant and the students are passengers on the "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" Twilight Zone episode
4. The Active Monitoring Workout
- Abs: I read somewhere that one of the most effective ab workouts is simply exhaling all of your air, then tensing up your ab muscles as hard as you can.
- Legs: Put ankle weights on during a break of at the beginning of the day, and do calf-raises when you get to the back of the room (students might get distracted and/or you might earn the nickname Twinkle Toes if they see you doing them)
- Arms: Flex your bicep as hard as you can for various increments of time
5. Imagine what animal each student would be. Not personality-wise, but strictly based on facial appearance. For example, the Mythbusters guy looks like a walrus.
6. Imagine who you would be friends with if you were that age in school right now.
7. If your group of students somehow got stranded on a desert island, which job would each student have? (Ex: firewood collector, hunter, shelter builder, resident artist, town fool, etc.)
8. Dream up your Best Day Ever. Best Day Ever means that you have 24 hours do whatever you want, whenever you want, and with whomever you want. Try to plan out every detail. What would you eat for meals? You would stay in one place the whole day or jump around to different places in a teleport? Who all would you see—friends and family, celebrities, or a combination? Your imagination is the limit!*
9. Think about what kind of unrealistic things would make the world a better place. For example:
10. Think about your answers to these compelling “Would you rather…?” questions:
- Would you rather get pooped on by a bird every time you go outside, or never get pooped on but be allowed outside for 5 hours on Saturdays only?
- Would you rather change gender every time you sneezed, or not be able to tell the difference between a muffin and a baby?
- Would you rather have to smell a fart all the time or have super bad breath?
11. Think about how happy it would make you if a parade of your favorite animals and/or people just randomly burst into the room. Also think about what song would be playing during the parade.
12. Look at the items in the room and think about how you would use them for survival if there was a zombie apocalypse
13. Think about where on your campus you would hide if there was a school-wide Hide-and-Seek with a $1,000,0000 prize
14. Use some Crest White Strips or other teeth whitening agent
15. Buy three different kinds of gum and time all three of them to see which one loses flavor the fastest
16. Take your pulse before and after thinking about the most annoying person you know and see if it changes
Now I would like to know your answer for your Best Day Ever and at least one of the Would You Rather questions.
Wishing you a happy and healthy testing season,
*dorkiest thing I’ve said all month. Not apologizing.