Standardized testing is mandated in all 50 states for public K-12 schools that expect to receive funding, but the ways the tests are administered (and the actual material) vary. The one thing that’s universal? Testing season is draining for students and teachers alike.
The required assessments are unavoidable; but with the right attitude, both educators and test-takers can come out smiling. Take a look at a few ways teachers can infuse some life back into the classroom after the testing ends and get students excited about the upcoming lessons.
1. Go Outside
Standardized tests are mundane and sterile, and distractions are understandably limited. So once the final answers are turned in, get your students outside. If the weather is an issue, talk with school officials about renting out the gym (or another open-space area). Give the students space to run and breathe fresh air before they move on to another academic task. The change of scenery will likely do you a lot of good, too.
2. Get Crafty
No matter what age(s) your students are, a craft or project will help them to blow off some steam after standardized test taking. Assign a fun, easy project, or give them the tools and let them come up with their own designs. Need some specific ideas? Check out this Pinterest board with post-test craft and activity ideas.
3. Incorporate Music
Have you ever noticed how quickly the right song puts you in a great mood? Create an upbeat playlist and throw a dance party in your classroom. If you have a lot of students who are musically inclined, host an impromptu talent show. Give students a stage to sing, play, or just dance their energy out.
4. Plan a Field Trip
Once you know your field trip allocations for the year, try to plan one soon after testing takes place. Your students are already out of their typical academic routine, making it a great time to do something else out of the ordinary – like a fun field trip off campus.
5. Watch a Movie
Make popcorn and bring in a favorite movie for students to enjoy. If you are reading a book in class, find the movie version to supplement the learning process. Aim for a title that is lighthearted or funny to bring a positive vibe to the post-test classroom.
6. Play Board/Card Games
Pull out some educational games for kids and let the kids compete in a way that won’t feel like learning at all. You can even let them know about the idea in advance, and have the students bring in their favorite games from home. Encourage students to bring in educational puzzles to share, too. Want to get them up and moving? Create a scavenger hunt around the classroom or the playground with a reward at the end.
Look for a meaningful project your students can complete that contributes to the bigger picture. It can take place in class or out in the local community; connect your students to causes that matter. Participating in activities that help people, animals, or the environment is a great stress reliever and helps to put everything else in life (like maybe a recent stressful exam) back into perspective.
8. Allow Free Choice
Allow your students an allotted amount of time to do basically whatever they want – within reason. Let them play games, read, play with apps on classroom computers or tablets, or play with toys. This is another great idea to let kids know about in advance so that they can bring their own items from home if they want.