Testing is Finished for the Day…What Now?

Testing is finished and I still have hours left in the day, what would be best for my students? This is a constant question that teachers have because so much is left up to what happens during the day and during testing. It is hard to break normal routines because you know that the students still have so many days of testing left and you don’t want to set a precedent of “you finish early, we get free time.” Instead, you need a plan that is low prep, flexible on time, still follows your classroom routines and will challenge the students but not further exhaust them. While you know your students best, this post will hopefully give you some ideas that you can take into your classroom that will help you out with your learners. Keep in mind that when we are testing math, we are not able to continue teaching math and when we are testing reading/writing, we are not able to continue teaching reading and writing, so please make sure that when you are choosing effective after testing activities, this state regulation is kept in mind.

Thinking Caps SBAC

Activities Focused on Encouragement

  • Write encouraging letters to other students or to their buddy up class, brainstorm what they would like to hear and give them time to apply their artistic talents as they write these letters
  • Create “thinking caps” like the ones Ms. Miller had her students make last year! (Check out the picture above for an example)
  • Think of a creative catch phrase for a future testing shirt – what would your shirt say and how would it help you succeed on the SBAC?
  • The Compliments Project from Cult of Pedagogy as written by Jennifer Gonzalez has students write compliments to each other in a public place – one student is in a seat and others write compliments on the board behind them. This would be great to do on the butcher paper that is covering your help charts – students would be broken into smaller groups and each would take a turn sitting in a chair while their peers write positive messages on the paper behind them.

Mindfulness/Mindset Activities

  • Breathing exercises, Ms. S Lopez does a great activity where she has her two aromatherapy diffusers going and students choose one scent to line up at, they take a deep breath and they find somewhere comfortable to lay (usually on the floor) and she plays positive motivation messages on an app or website like Calm or Mind Yeti while they relax. Here are some links you can use if you are interested in this strategy:
  • Class Dojo Mindfulness Lessons
    • Mojo Meets the Beast: this activity talks about emotions being overwhelming, gives students time to draw their own “beast” and gives strategies on how to use self control when emotions are feeling really strong.
  • Class Dojo Growth Mindset Lessons:
    • Reflecting on our Language: helps learners understand more about how to communicate effectively, would be a great lesson to do before having them write inspirational letters to each other.
    • Reflection Triangles:  guides learners in a reflection activity focused on thinking about how much they have learned this school year.
    • Becoming a Goal Setter: great to do the day before testing or after the first day so students can set goals and measure their progress during reflection times.
  • Class Dojo Perseverance Lessons:
    • All Lessons on Perseverance: I would recommend this entire perseverance series because it really builds on itself and can be effective when our learners feel like they are stuck and won’t get better. This can be a tough mindset to break out of and the videos and activity help learners relate to other people they may have heard of who have also felt discouraged but who have overcome that barrier and still met their goals.
  • Class Dojo Story Telling Lessons:
    • Storytelling: this is a great activity for students to do right after testing especially since we are starting the first week with math assessments. This activity goes over the process of storytelling and allows students to create their own characters and helps them develop a strong plot.
  • Mind Yeti Moments:
    • Mind Yeti Focus: allow students to find a comfortable place somewhere in the room and give have them listen to the audio as they relax and reflect – also see the links in the breathing exercises section if you like what you see in the focus section!

Ideas From Other Bloggers

  • Genius Hour from AJ Juliani: Genius Hour is a time when students get to explore something that they are curious or passionate about, a great way to encourage students to continue challenging themselves and re-energize their minds after a long day of testing!
  • Movie Makers: give students time to reflect on the learning they have accomplished this year and create an iMove that shares the progress they have made over the course of this school year or over their time as a whole in school. This could include a reflection of their goals and objectives for the year as well as a segment where they make new goals.

For even more great ideas:


Regardless of what goes on during testing, it is great when our learners can remember that they are there to show what they know and to prove that they have know more than they did the last time they took the interim assessment or they know more than they did the last time they took the SBAC or Local Measures assessment. We know that everyone will do whatever possible to maintain a growth mindset!

Testing Strategies

This week’s PD focused solely on testing, including information from the state regarding direction for administering the SBAC assessment and room environment strategies. Instead of summarizing what we just heard, I wanted to share a post that was written on this blog last year in order to help everyone remember to “stay calm and test on.” The following blog will go over resources to share with parents, ideas for students and ways to remind our learners that they are simply showing what they already know by completing this test as well as they possibly can.

One new piece of information that I do want to share is the SBAC Troubleshooting guide that was created last year and updated during interim assessments. If you have any questions or if there are any issues with technology, this is a resource to use:

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Read below to see the ideas and strategies that were shared in last year’s SBAC Testing blog post:

***REPOST FROM 04/2018***

The end of the year SBAC assessment can cause a lot of angst for students, parents, and teachers. We can all work together to make sure that we provide as positive of an experience through this process as possible.

Parents

Familiarize Yourself with the Assessment

The SBAC assessment is taken in grade 3-12. All students are expected to complete this assessment in school. The SBAC website has some great resources and videos that will help parents familiarize themselves with the assessment:  http://www.smarterbalanced.org/parents/ 

Help Your Child Feel Confident

Have conversations with your child about what to expect during testing. Remind them that their brain is growing and has grown throughout this school year because of the hard work they have put into their schoolwork. Reflect with your child about what they have learned this year. Think back to the previous year and help your child remember that learning is a process that is continuous, it never stops!

Your Words Have Power

Many teachers encourage parents to write a short letter in their home language. This letter is read by students each morning before they begin the assessment. Your letter can include anything that you feel will help your child feel more confident. Reminding them how proud you are of them and explaining what makes you feel you such pride can be a great place to start your letter!

Support on Testing Days

The days of SBAC testing can be incredibly stressful because the normal routines of our school day are not followed. Students arrive in class, do a classroom specific motivation strategy, then begin testing. The testing can last for hours throughout the day. Therefore, at home, before and after  your child arrives at school, you can:

  • Make sure they are well rested
  • Make sure they have breakfast
  • If your child earned an SBAC medal, make sure they wear it to school
  • Make sure they are on time to school
  • Leave them a note or pack their favorite snack
  • When they come home, ask them how they felt during testing
  • Strategize with your child to discover ways they can feel successful during testing

IMG_3423

Students

Show What You Know

Throughout this entire school year, your brain has grown! You have learned new concepts, strategies, and you have developed new academic skills. The purpose of this assessment is simply to what you have learned. While it is important to do your best, it is also important to realize that some of the questions are meant to challenge you and that is okay! Part of this experience is learning how to handle situations that are stressful and daunting. Stay confident in yourself and show what you know!

Believe in Yourself

It is crucial to believe that you, yourself, can achieve great things! Have confidence that you can demonstrate your knowledge successfully! Don’t forget all the hard work you have put into your learning throughout this year. Help yourself remember how far you have come academically by reflecting on where you were before this school year started.

Feel Confident About What you Have Learned

We all have times when we have not put our best effort into something. Now is the time to reflect and feel proud about all the times you did put your best effort into the task at hand. Think of a time when you felt successful on something related to school. Hold that feeling in your heart and mind. Whenever you are feeling stress or pressure because of an assessment, bring that feeling back to yourself. Give yourself a moment to feel that same pride again.

IMG_4641

Teachers

Test Pep

Test pep is very different form test prep because one is about celebrating successes, the other is about closing knowledge gaps. While both are necessary, test pep can help build the confidence in our learners and remind them that while it is okay to feel stressed, we have strategies to work beyond that and put our best effort into our task.

Inspirational Posters and Reminders

Ms. Gates and her ASB student have done an amazing job of creating posters for students to feel supported during testing. Especially when frustrations run high for both students and teachers, this can be a source of calming in the classroom. The reminder that this is what they have prepared for, the messages that make them feel supported, the thought that it is okay to feel frustrated as long as we have strategies that can help us move forward – all of these messages can help support our learners even when they are feeling frustrated.

In Ms. Miller’s class, I  noticed that she had her students create thinking caps with social-emotional learning connections. These thinking caps will help students feel excited about testing and help them stay motivated by serving as a reminder that they have spent the year helping their brains grow.

Letters

Every year, we ask our parents to write an inspirational letter to their children. Giving time to allow our students to read this letter, holding a conversation about what this letter means to them, and reflecting on the words of their loved ones can help students feel the supported and help them feel proud of how hard they have worked.

IMG_3490 2


We are looking forward to seeing what our students have learned over the course of the year! We will be reflecting on the results and data to provide an even more effective academic education for each individual learner.

Strategies During Testing

The end of the year SBAC assessment can cause a lot of angst for students, parents, and teachers. We can all work together to make sure that we provide as positive of an experience through this process as possible.

Parents

Familiarize Yourself with the Assessment

The SBAC assessment is taken in grade 3-12. All students are expected to complete this assessment in school. The SBAC website has some great resources and videos that will help parents familiarize themselves with the assessment:  http://www.smarterbalanced.org/parents/ 

Help Your Child Feel Confident

Have conversations with your child about what to expect during testing. Remind them that their brain is growing and has grown throughout this school year because of the hard work they have put into their schoolwork. Reflect with your child about what they have learned this year. Think back to the previous year and help your child remember that learning is a process that is continuous, it never stops!

Your Words Have Power

Many teachers encourage parents to write a short letter in their home language. This letter is read by students each morning before they begin the assessment. Your letter can include anything that you feel will help your child feel more confident. Reminding them how proud you are of them and explaining what makes you feel you such pride can be a great place to start your letter!

Support on Testing Days

The days of SBAC testing can be incredibly stressful because the normal routines of our school day are not followed. Students arrive in class, do a classroom specific motivation strategy, then begin testing. The testing can last for hours throughout the day. Therefore, at home, before and after  your child arrives at school, you can:

  • Make sure they are well rested
  • Make sure they have breakfast
  • If your child earned an SBAC medal, make sure they wear it to school
  • Make sure they are on time to school
  • Leave them a note or pack their favorite snack
  • When they come home, ask them how they felt during testing
  • Strategize with your child to discover ways they can feel successful during testing

IMG_3423

Students

Show What You Know

Throughout this entire school year, your brain has grown! You have learned new concepts, strategies, and you have developed new academic skills. The purpose of this assessment is simply to what you have learned. While it is important to do your best, it is also important to realize that some of the questions are meant to challenge you and that is okay! Part of this experience is learning how to handle situations that are stressful and daunting. Stay confident in yourself and show what you know!

Believe in Yourself

It is crucial to believe that you, yourself, can achieve great things! Have confidence that you can demonstrate your knowledge successfully! Don’t forget all the hard work you have put into your learning throughout this year. Help yourself remember how far you have come academically by reflecting on where you were before this school year started.

Feel Confident About What you Have Learned

We all have times when we have not put our best effort into something. Now is the time to reflect and feel proud about all the times you did put your best effort into the task at hand. Think of a time when you felt successful on something related to school. Hold that feeling in your heart and mind. Whenever you are feeling stress or pressure because of an assessment, bring that feeling back to yourself. Give yourself a moment to feel that same pride again.

IMG_4641

Teachers

Test Pep

Test pep is very different form test prep because one is about celebrating successes, the other is about closing knowledge gaps. While both are necessary, test pep can help build the confidence in our learners and remind them that while it is okay to feel stressed, we have strategies to work beyond that and put our best effort into our task.

Inspirational Posters and Reminders

Ms. Gates and her ASB student have done an amazing job of creating posters for students to feel supported during testing. Especially when frustrations run high for both students and teachers, this can be a source of calming in the classroom. The reminder that this is what they have prepared for, the messages that make them feel supported, the thought that it is okay to feel frustrated as long as we have strategies that can help us move forward – all of these messages can help support our learners even when they are feeling frustrated.

In Ms. Miller’s class, I  noticed that she had her students create thinking caps with social-emotional learning connections. These thinking caps will help students feel excited about testing and help them stay motivated by serving as a reminder that they have spent the year helping their brains grow.

Letters

Every year, we ask our parents to write an inspirational letter to their children. Giving time to allow our students to read this letter, holding a conversation about what this letter means to them, and reflecting on the words of their loved ones can help students feel the supported and help them feel proud of how hard they have worked.

IMG_3490 2


We are looking forward to seeing what our students have learned over the course of the year! We will be reflecting on the results and data to provide an even more effective academic education for each individual learner.

Week 32 VAPA Announcements

● We have a Growth Mindset ● We Keep all Staff & Every Student in Mind ● We Commit & Follow Through ●

Shout Outs

  • Shout Out to Ms. Aderholdt for being nominated and winning the Max FM’s Max Out My Class. Ms. Aderholdt was nominated for providing exciting opportunities for her students to connect with others and opportunities to be independent. Elizabeth and her class will be recognized and will receive various prizes!
  • Shout Out to Ms. Gates for having almost all of her students meet or exceed standard on the ELA interim assessment! Way to go! 

     

Information

  • Pasta for Pennies Fundraiser: the Pasta for Pennies fundraiser is going on now! You can donate pennies in the classrooms or online: http://events.lls.org/pages/sd/FeasterCharterSchool-2018. Remember, any monetary amount other than pennies can be put it a different class box to count as negative points!
  • iPads: The Media Center has been checking our Mobile Device Management system and they have noticed that some profiles are still being removed. Roel and Heather will be emailing you if a student in your class has deleted this profile. Please have a conversation with your students letting them know: they must use only their device, students should not be sharing devices and if the profile is removed, it will result in the iPad being taken away until testing.
  • Tutoring: If you are interested in tutoring after-school there is an opportunity to get paid! Please see the coaches for the form, you’ll need to fill it out and turn in regular attendance.
  • Donors Choose: We have had several emails with Donors Choose requests! A school wide project has been put up on the site: https://bit.ly/2qABY2A . If you have other flexible seating supplies you would like added, please send Heather a link! Please also help us by sharing the link to our school project on your social media accounts!
  • Twitter Chats: Twitter is a great resource for connecting with other educators. You can find a list of Twitter Chats online at: https://sites.google.com/site/twittereducationchats/education-chat-calendar/chat-calendar-pst. There are Twitter chats for grade levels, TOSAs, and general education concepts.

Week at a Glance

5th Grade-School Duty

** Q4 Grit & Optimism**

Pasta for Pennies Fundraiser

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Spring Pictures Assessments:

1st Grade LM Writing

VIP Awards Assembly

4:00 (last year’s 3rd graders)

4:40 (last year’s 4th graders)

Spring Pictures

Assessments:

1st Grade LM Reading 4th Grade Math PT

VIP Awards Assembly

4:00 (last year’s 5th graders)

4:40 (last year’s 6th graders)

Sports

4:00 Feaster Boys Soccer vs. McMillin (Away)

K Promotion Pictures

Assessments:

1st Grade LM Reading 4th Grade Math CAT

PD – SBAC Training

VIP Awards Assembly

4:00 (last year’s 7th graders)

4:40 (last year’s 8th graders)

Assessments:

1st Grade LM Reading 4th Grade Math CAT

Achieve 3K Pizza Party

SBAC Flash Mob Assembly

Sports

4:00 Feaster Boys Soccer vs. Lauderbach (Away)

Saturday

Dia de los Ninos (Memorial Park)

Looking Ahead & Other Information:

  • 4.30-5.4 SBAC Testing
  • 5.4 Last day to order supplies

Week 32 STEM Announcements

● We have a Growth Mindset ● We Keep all Staff & Every Student in Mind ● We Commit & Follow Through ●

Shout Outs

  • Shout Out to Ms. Aderholdt for being nominated and winning the Max FM’s Max Out My Class. Ms. Aderholdt was nominated for providing exciting opportunities for her students to connect with others and opportunities to be independent. Elizabeth and her class will be recognized and will receive various prizes!
  • Shout Out to Ms. Gates for having almost all of her students meet or exceed standard on the ELA interim assessment! Way to go!

     

Information

  • Pasta for Pennies Fundraiser: the Pasta for Pennies fundraiser is going on now! You can donate pennies in the classrooms or online: http://events.lls.org/pages/sd/FeasterCharterSchool-2018. Remember, any monetary amount other than pennies can be put it a different class box to count as negative points!
  • iPads: The Media Center has been checking our Mobile Device Management system and they have noticed that some profiles are still being removed. Roel and Heather will be emailing you if a student in your class has deleted this profile. Please have a conversation with your students letting them know: they must use only their device, students should not be sharing devices and if the profile is removed, it will result in the iPad being taken away until testing.
  • Tutoring: If you are interested in tutoring after-school there is an opportunity to get paid! Please see the coaches for the form, you’ll need to fill it out and turn in regular attendance.
  • Donors Choose: We have had several emails with Donors Choose requests! A school wide project has been put up on the site: https://bit.ly/2qABY2A . If you have other flexible seating supplies you would like added, please send Heather a link! Please also help us by sharing the link to our school project on your social media accounts!
  • Twitter Chats: Twitter is a great resource for connecting with other educators. You can find a list of Twitter Chats online at: https://sites.google.com/site/twittereducationchats/education-chat-calendar/chat-calendar-pst. There are Twitter chats for grade levels, TOSAs, and general education concepts.

Week at a Glance

 

5th Grade-School Duty

** Q4 Grit & Optimism**

Pasta for Pennies Fundraiser

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Spring Pictures Assessments:

1st Grade LM Writing

VIP Awards Assembly

4:00 (last year’s 3rd graders)

4:40 (last year’s 4th graders)

Spring Pictures

Assessments:

1st Grade LM Reading 4th Grade Math PT

VIP Awards Assembly

4:00 (last year’s 5th graders)

4:40 (last year’s 6th graders)

Sports

4:00 Feaster Boys Soccer vs. McMillin (Away)

K Promotion Pictures

Assessments:

1st Grade LM Reading 4th Grade Math CAT

PD – SBAC Training

VIP Awards Assembly

4:00 (last year’s 7th graders)

4:40 (last year’s 8th graders)

Assessments:

1st Grade LM Reading 4th Grade Math CAT

Achieve 3K Pizza Party

SBAC Flash Mob Assembly

Sports

4:00 Feaster Boys Soccer vs. Lauderbach (Away)

Saturday

Dia de los Ninos (Memorial Park)

Looking Ahead & Other Information:

  • 4.30-5.4 SBAC Testing
  • 5.4 Last day to order supplies

Combating Assessment Stress

Testing time can be stressful for students because normal routines are disrupted, days seem a lot longer and they are taking a high stakes assessment. There are strategies that make testing a little more manageable for all learners.

Focus on Growth

When we are reviewing information with our students, it is crucial that we look at the individual. While data is important and helps us support our learners, we can keep their growth in mind and use that to individualize our feedback and create goals which will help them progress.

When we reflect on data, how powerful would it be to consider where each student started and where they are now?

When I was teaching grade two, I was going over Lexile Levels during one-on-one conferences. One student who had been struggling in reading all year had finally progressed beyond BR – “beginning reader.” When I shared the new Lexile level, this student looked at me said, “You mean I am not a beginning reader anymore?” My heart sank. This was a term I had taught this student. I had not focused on the strengths or growths, I was more concerned with data than anything else.

When I changed my mindset to focus on what each student was excelling in and started  supporting to reach individual goals, they started exemplifying their strengths and showing growth. They even began working to support other students in areas where they felt most confident. The individualized goals and feedback empowered the learners to excel beyond what was expected of them and to take their learning to a larger audience by helping others learn and supporting them.

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Positive Words

Keeping the focus on positivity can also help support our learners and reduce the stress that often surrounds testing. Simple encouragements, listening to students, and gentle support can all have a positive impact on the attitude students have towards testing.

Some of my favorite positivity videos are from values.com. This website is full of short (30 – 75 second) videos that are incredibly inspirational and up-lifting.

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Relaxation Strategies

Teaching strategies that will help students when they get overwhelmed can be beneficial even beyond testing time. One of my favorite read aloud books, Good Morning Yoga, has a great mantra at the end that helps set a purpose for the day. We read this book every Monday; students set a purpose for the day and then reflect on that purpose at the end of the day.

This is just one strategy that students can use when they are feeling overwhelmed. I would suggest talking to your students in a trust circle and hearing from them. What strategies do they use when they are feeling overwhelmed? By keeping an on-going list of these strategies, students can have a resource they turn to when they are feeling overwhelmed.

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Healthy Routines

Reminding students about healthy sleep and eating habits has emotional as well as physical benefits. These routines, if taught early, can become a regular part of our students’ lives. Hold conversations about how students feel when they are rested compared to tired, discuss the benefits of healthy eating, talk about how to manage time to fit social hours, school work, and exercise into a day… All of these short conversations can have a positive impact over time.

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Testing can be a stressful time; it can also be an opportunity to show strength in character. How powerful would it be to hear from our students and strategize with them to help monitor and reduce stress levels?

STEM Week 20 Announcements

● We have a Growth Mindset ● We Keep all Staff & Every Student in Mind ● We Commit & Follow Through ●

Shout Outs:

  • Shout Out to Coach Guglielmo, Coach, Johnson, Coach Chris, Coach Bates and Coach Reggie for all their dedication to Feaster Athletics (@FeasterAthletics). The players are lucky to have such dedicated coaches and staff to support them. Please follow them on Instagram and Facebook and try to make it to a game if you can. We have some very talented athletes at Feaster!
  • Shout Out to the technology committee for putting on a successful Family Tech Night. We had a lot of parents come out to learn about the various types of technology we use on campus!

Pictures:  Family Tech Night

Information

  • PIQE (Parent Institute for Quality Education (2nd -8th): This week please promote PIQE to your parents and students. This program provides families with information on different topics each week that range from parents learning how to navigate the school system: common core, LCAP, questions to ask at parent teacher conferences, to how parents can build self-esteem through academic achievement. Classes will begin on Wednesday, January 17th. Please send completed forms to the office or to Room 201!
  • SBAC Interim Assessments: Have been postponed until the end of Q3, leads will follow up with more information!
  • Blog: If you haven’t already, please remember to follow our Feaster Charter blog by clicking “follow” at the bottom of this website: https://feastercharter.workdpress.com/ and entering your email address!
  • Instagram: You can now follow Feaster Charter on Instagram at @FeasterCharter and @Feasterathletics
  • Twitter: It has been great to see all of your tweets coming in! A lot of excellent strategies, routines, resources, and experiences are being shared. Keep it going this week so we can all continue to learn from eacher other! #feasterlearns @feastercharter
  • Donors Choose: Mrs. Walker is available to help anyone who is interested in funding a project for your classroom find the resources or set up a Donors Choose.  Those interested in funding flexible seating, rugs, couches, bean bag chairs, etc. can email her and she will follow up with you to set up an account!

Week at a Glance

  • Mindlabs After School Duty
  • Q3 Character Strengths are Zest & Gratitude

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Happy MLK Day!

-Coffee With the Principals @7:45

-2nd Grade Field Trip @San Diego Zoo

-Electives and Clubs begin today

-PIQE Planning Session @5:00 Room 401

-Bates, Dycaico, Greer Field Trip @Rueben H. Fleet Scienc Center

-Kinder SOM 8:00am MPR -3rd SOM 9:00am MPR

-PD: ELPAC

-Ruppert Field Trip @Living Coast

Looking Ahead & Other Information:

  • 1.24.17 PIQE