Monthly Mondays with Meghan
Last week the Edcite Team posted 10 Ways to Keep Calm During Assessment Season, but I find the best way to keep calm is to remember that there is still life after testing, and we are still in school! I find it helpful to think about what I want to do when tests are over, which brings me to today’s post–what should I teach after the state assessments?
When I lived and taught in North Carolina, I worked at Henderson Collegiate – an awesome school in rural NC. A huge piece of class culture that I learned from the staff and administrators there was to build the idea that “we are never done” from the start! Or as a good friend and colleague, Wil Redmond, says, “Steaks are done – not people.”
With that in mind, what do we actually DO for the next month and a half? Here are a few ideas keep the momentum going after state testing is over:
- Connect this Idea to Real-Life Examples: Read about people who won awards, athletes who won championships, etc. and ask, “Did they take off their jersey, put down the basketball, and stop until the following season?” or “Did they stop researching and working in their field after they won this award?” Have the students connect these examples to their continued work ethic! (Include short clips to show every few days to reinvest them in this idea while teaching them about other individuals!)
- Use New Lesson Formats: Work to keep the assignments interesting and feel a little different than they did before. For example, this Graphic Novel assignment is one I will be using post-test. It helps build the same skills, but the use of a graphic novel feels unique to students.
- Focus on the Future: Research a local college and then take a class trip to the college for a day: speak to a student panel, take a campus tour, eat in the student union, ask about tickets to a college sporting event, etc.
- Help Students Transition: HYPE HYPE HYPE the next grade(s) and working on material that prepares them for the next grade. For example, when I taught 4th grade, we read The Watson’s Go to Birmingham after the test, as it is often read in 5th and 6th grade. When I taught 7th grade, one of my colleagues worked on practice ACT questions after the test in an effort to begin preparing them for the ACT! They tracked their progress daily!
- Make it a competition!! One year we did the Olympics. Each period represented a country. Each day (in each class) they had a challenge: Passage Challenges, Master Mathematicians, Mad Scientists, etc. They earned both individual medals (100% = gold, 90% = silver, 80% = bronze) and they earned class medals (top % = gold, second place = silver, third place = bronze). They kept up with their individual medals and we tracked the class medals daily (see pictures below). This not only kept them invested in learning additional material, it also had them bragging about academics 24/7.
Whatever you do – don’t lower your high expectations!! Students lose too much knowledge over the summer, so we want to let them gain as much experience and knowledge as possible while they are still in school. Invest them in getting ahead and showing what they know!
Want to brainstorm more ideas?! Post below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!