February 28, 2008

Celebrating the Testing Season

The teachers at our school are, once again, having a t-shirt contest for the CRT. The winner earns a day off while an administrator subs the class. Last year my t-shirt was a winner, so you know I couldn't just slide by this year. (Especially after the chair of the social club stopped by my room to throw down a challenge.)

So, I started off the first day of testing with this shirt, which I thought was cool looking, but the print was so small, the point may have been missed. (I blurred it out here.) I gave credit to the testing director, the other administrators, with distribution to all of us teachers who have signed legal documents saying we wouldn't compromise the integrity of the test. Attribution to the writer was given to Nobody Knows and the soundtrack credit was given to the noisy construction site next to our school. Of course, the stars of the show: Students who are NOT being left behind.

The second day of testing I decided to bring some star power. I wish I weren't so culturally inept because I might have been able to do a play on some songs the kids like or something...The shirt was a big hit, though. (The original design had our school name in it.) I had to explain to some that "Yes We Can" is a big catch-phrase in Obama's campaign. Some of my Hispanic kids said, "Oh yea! Sí se puede!" Uhm, yea. And then everywhere I went, my shirt inspired some political debate. Usually my clothing inspires...nothing. That's good, though. It gave my students something to do in the HOUR we waited in the testing room for the rest of the school to finish.
On the third day, I struggled to come up with something. You should see the t-shirts my colleagues have made! They have borrowed catch phrases from just about anything in our culture you can think of. My style is a little quirkier than, "Can you test me now?" with the Verizon guy, and I didn't think cute like iTest, so I was stumped. Finally, I made a shirt that the testing director could appreciate. My students got it a little, too, because I tell them not to discuss the test with their classmates after they are finished. I've even told them I am not allowed to look at the questions, let alone help them in any way. On the fourth and final day, I decided to keep it simple and to the point:

Considering we ended up administering the CRT five weeks earlier than we'd originally planned, I am crossing my fingers that we kicked some AYP this year. We need any good mojo we can get! I've heard that some schools have been crippled by this error (still not sure if it was district, state, or testing company), but our administrators have repeatedly commended us on our professionalism and ability to go with the flow under pressure.

It's always easier to go with the flow with some humor and joy in life!

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