Tuesday, April 24, 2012

You Know My Name And Want Me To Succeed

A couple years ago I drove through a small town that  had a big banner at the main intersection wishing their students well on state testing.  I thought this was amazing.

I wondered what I could do for all the students in my little school--about 150 kids in 3rd and 4th grade.  What I did took time, and it was small.  (I could have spent the same amount of time creating some snazzy review activity.)  I was blown away by what a big deal it was for some of the kids.

I made a little hand written banner that reads:
3rd and 4th Graders:  You make us proud every day.  Now do your best on the OAA!
(From the Staff and Students of our school.)

Then I wrote each kids first name on a little star and hung them up.  The location was by the kitchen, because on testing days the parent group makes the kids breakfast.  I hung them up a few days before testing started.

Here's the thing:  Everyone wants (needs) to be recognized and known.    This was way bigger than reviewing.  Someone knows my name and wants me to do well.  That is big--HUGE.  I think it's so easy to forget this in education--especially around high stakes testing.

I'm always nervous when we get to testing week, but I feel good knowing that for some kids being seen will be enough--regardless of their score.

What tips do you have for empowering kids or teachers around high stakes testing?

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