A Teacher’s Guide to Surviving Standardized Testing Season


Teachers across the state of Pennsylvania are gearing up for the most dreaded weeks of the school year. Yes, worse than the Monday – Wednesday of Thanksgiving week; yes, worse that the week before the winter recess. It’s standardized test season!

Here is a checklist to help you and your students survive:

1.) Have your kids clean out their desks completely. Old papers can go home, books can be stored in bookcases, coat closets, or their lockers.

2.) Talk to your students who struggle the most with these situations about where they will be seated in the classroom. I ask them directly – where do you think you will be most successful?

3.) Space the desks so you can easily walk through every aisle. There is nothing worse than banging into the sides of desks for a few hours as you are active monitoring!

4.) No matter how much you are feeling the pressure from administrators or the district, do not pass this anxiety on to your students. Stop calling them “high-stakes” tests, or making it seem like it’s the most important thing they will do all year. Remind them to just do the best they can, that’s all we can ask.

5.) Sharpen all the pencils. And then sharpen some more. Oh, while you are at it, buy a new pencil sharpener. The one you have will undoubtably break.

6.) Remember you are not going to have your prep at your scheduled time. If this means missing a usual morning break, get up and have your coffee earlier. Then you won’t have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the test!

7.) Buy the jumbo size bag of mint Lifesavers. When you see a student start to get tired or lose focus, drop one on their desk.

8.) Tissues, tissues, tissues!

9.) Bring your fitbit. Time to get your steps in!⋅

10.) Encourage them to bring healthy snacks to eat between test sections. Bring some in for students you know may not be able to do this.

11.) As you look around your room (and NOT AT TEST QUESTIONS) remember that there is something really off about covering up books and other learning tools in buildings that are suppose to be dedicated to educating. Is a sign that says READ over a classroom library really going to give a kid an answer on a test?!

12.) Remember that throughout the school year, you have taught and they have learned. No score on any standardized test can judge your merit as a teacher or everything your students’ have accomplished.

Good luck! Eight weeks until Memorial Day weekend!






My Friday Favorites 03.31.17

Happy Friday! Here is my roundup of the things I’m loving this week.

On TV – Last night’s Grey’s Anatomy episode reminded me why I loved the show when it first began. From the first moment with a Meredith voiceover talking about her Mom, to the doctors disagreeing over a patient’s treatment because the stakes are so high, this was old school Grey’s Anatomy! It even felt like it was shot in a reminiscent way (an elevator door coming between possible love, a daughter following her mother out of an ambulance) so it did not surprise me when I realized that it was Ellen Pompeo’s director debut. What was the rest of Ellis’s sentence??? Tell Meredith not to……what do you think?


On the Page – Do you want to know genius storage tricks? 17 ways to add color to every room? To read a moving story about a family and their late father’s bucket list? And to see Octavia Spencer’s fun spring wardrobe? Check out Good Housekeeping’s April issue.

GHK040117_051On the Web – This is the time of year that I am not always thrilled at work. As a teacher, the “standardized testing season” can be long, unfulfilling, and demoralizing for students and teachers alike. Every teacher should read I Can’t Answer These Texas Standardized Test Questions About My Own Poems by Sara Holbrook. The poet admits that she cannot answer questions on a 7th grade standardized test about poems she authored. Teachers – just breathe! It will all be over soon! (Sidebar – don’t forget your fitbits!)

standardized tests

On Instagram – Nothing says spring like the flood of rainbow colors on Instagram! My pick this week is the wonderfully color-coded bath accessories displayed by The Organizing Store. This deserves all of the heart-emoji smiley faces and rainbows you can type!


On the Playlist – Bon Jovi’s This House is Not for Sale album, as I prepare to see them tonight in concert! I’m liking this new album, but, I can’t wait to hear them sing their oldies including my all time favorite Bon Jovi song… drumroll…. Who Says You Can’t Go Home!JBJ_touronsale_bnr
Hope you have a great weekend! Let me know some of your favorite things AND what you think Ellis Grey wanted to tell Meredith in the comments below!