State testing can be a bit of a trial. I have to test the Crazy 8 this year and I knew it would be tough. My white board usually reads: "Silence is golden," during testing week. For this group it read, "Silence: It's the Law."
Third grade is the first time the kids are subjected to state testing. So, I took full advantage. I gave the kids the following speech:
Boys and girls, next week is a big week for third grade. Next week we will be taking the [Insert Catchy/Infamous Acronym for State Testing]. They don't let you take this test until third grade because you can't handle it. Now you can, but we need to talk about what this means.
Usually in this class we have a rule during tests that says, "No, talking." Some of you break that rule regularly and you get a reflection or I let your parents know about the choices you are making. Well, when we take [Insert Catchy/Infamous Acronym for State Testing] it's not a rule [Insert Dramatic Pause]. It's the law!
The state passed a law that says every student gets to take this test in silence so he or she can do his or her personal best. If you choose to break this law, then you've committed a testing violation.
If you commit a testing violation, I will have to write an official report on what you did. It will say your name and what you did. It won't just go to Captain Principal either. It has to go all the way to the state--probably the Mayor or something. Because of your testing violation, your test might not count, and if that happens then how will we know if you really understand your third grade skills?
After my big speech, I saw lots of big eyes so I knew I was effective. One little boy raised his hand to ask if they would go to "juvey" if they committed a testing violation.
"Well, you probably wouldn't go to jail, but there would be a severe consequence," I told them.
My little speech must have been effective because this group of kids constantly have behaviors and no one has tried anything that memorable. That is saying something because my newest student took an entire hour after all the students finished during part 1 of the Reading test. She did the exact same thing again during the afternoon Math test.
All the kids were sitting in their seats trying to see her book, so they would know how much longer. I was walking around trying to contain the Crazy 8 for the rest of the testing session. "Hulk, turn back to your original color!" I said in passing. "Taz, quit chewing through your desk!" "Lost Boys, I don't know where you found a bunch of planks, but take down that fort at once!" However, I must confess, that when I walked by New Student who was the only one with her test left and saw that she was on question 5, I almost committed a testing violation myself! Do you think they would send me to "juvey"?