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Thursday, March 12, 2015

How To Entertain Your Brain for Testing

As I was a substitute proctor for our PARCC exam for 5th graders Monday, I had the same thought I have every time I proctor a standardized test...

What am I going to do with the next few hours of my proctoring life???

Let's face it.  Proctoring the PARCC exam for kiddos who get extended time is basically asking to be locked up in a prison cell for an unknown amount of time.  No phone.  No conversation.  No sitting.  And no contact with the outside world unless someone is dying in your room {or throwing pencils at you.  Yes, that will also get you contact with the outside world.} #yesitshappenedtome

So, during the first few minutes of silent, hollow, proctoring brain activity...I decided to make my top 8 ways to entertain the proctoring brain to, ya know, entertain my own proctoring brain...

8.  Walk around the room making sure every one is answering questions and doesn't need any help....without actually reading what is on their screen/test booklet.  Reading what's on the screen would be a testing violation that would send you to "teacher jail."

7.  Change your pace of walking.  Do not, I repeat DO NOT, sit down.  That will get you sent to "teacher jail" too. Truth: Walking the same pace for hours on end is too dull.  Walking, skipping, high stepping, slo-mo walking and side step walking is much more entertaining.  For realz.

6.  Count your steps from one end of the room to the other.  And then count them again on the way back just to make sure you agree with yourself.  28 steps. {You know you were wondering!}

5.  Check the extra #2 pencils to make sure none of them need to be sharpened.  Forget about actually sharpening them right now.  No chance that's gonna be okay during the test.  Save that fun for after the test is over.

4.  If you are lucky enough to get snack packs during your testing session, spend some time planning out how you will sufficiently spread out your snack eating habits so that you can make your snacks last as long as you can.  Possible ways to eat your snacks:
     *Eat a small handful every five minutes.
     *Slowly, very slowly, eat one small piece at a time...being careful not to rush your pace for fear you will run out of snacks too soon.
     *Or, take my plan and just start stuffing your face as fast as you can because, well, you have plenty of other things to do with your time when you run out of snacks. #sarcasm

And if you don't get snacks, then....this...

3.  Start a lunch countdown. Truth: You may have to break for lunch and continue your extended time test after you eat.  With your kids.  No adult contact yet, people.  And if you don't have to finish after lunch, you can almost guarantee you'll be testing right up to lunch time.  Starting an over/under bet with yourself on whether you will finish before or after lunch can give you 8 solid minutes of proctoring brain entertainment.  Questions to consider....
     *Will your group finish right at lunch time, after lunch or with a few minutes to spare before lunch?
     *How many minutes before or after lunch will it be?  Over/Under?
     *Will your group be the only one eating alone at lunch or will other extended time groups have to eat alone too?

2.  Decide the order in which the 8 kids in your small group will finish.   Then, keep track of your results in your head and how well you do.  PS:  Do not write this order down for fear that it may be a testing violation and you will spend the rest of your life in "teacher jail."  PPS: You may begin to hear cheering and booing voices in your head as you watch the results come in.  Refrain from making faces like this one at students as a result of your cheers.

1.  Walk slowly by the door every few minutes.  Walk slowly enough that you can almost pause and look at the outside world longingly....looking for any sign of adults that you can smile, wave, or just roll your eyes at!  Heaven forbid you open the door and speak...that would get you....yes, you guessed it...."teacher jail."  So you will have to settle for facial expressions.

Watch out, as this can border on creepy stalkerish if you're not careful.  But just seeing an another adult just outside of your "chamber" is like a little happy during a test session.  And getting a glance or smile back is pretty much a pot of gold at the end of your testing rainbow!

How do you entertain your test proctoring brain?