1. This morning I handed each student a Magic Pencil. See, I can't say anything to them as they finish their test - none of my usual "Are you sure?" or "Did you double check your work?" They are on their own. So, I passed each of them a Magic Pencil and told them, that if they held the pencil eraser up to their ear... if they were really, REALLY quiet, that they could hear the pencil say... "Did you check all of your work?"
Some of them scoffed, chuckled, and deemed themselves as non-believers in my Magic Pencil. All I replied was "I believe." I believe in them, I believe in what they can accomplish....
After we started the test - I was walking around the room I noticed one of my students staring at her pencil. Intently. Then, all of the sudden, she starts mouthing words. It looked like she was giving herself, or her pencil, a pep talk. Then, as I was watching from the corner of the room, I saw her even give herself a little fist pumping action. Well, in the direction of her pencil. This happened a few times throughout the testing. I even caught her mouthing comments about the questions - smirking, smiling, and looking at the paper as if to say "Haha, I've got you, you fraction comparison!" (disclaimer: In no way am I saying that there was a fraction comparison problem on the test. Or wasn't. There, legal team.)
2. Some of my students, including Queen Goldfish, are tested outside of the classroom for various reasons. Distracting, distractible, or because of some sort of modification from their IEP. QG was testing with one of her biggest admirers and former teachers. I received an email update mid-test from this teacher, sharing some of QG's comments - which - not shocking - had nothing to do with the test. At one point she emailed to tell me that QG had just "strangled her pencil. A-la Homer Simpson." I imagined that Magic Pencil was talking to her, and she was ticked at what it was saying. Thank goodness I later found out that it wasn't the magic pencil, but just a regular ol' number 2. I would love to know what was going through her head, and at what point she decided that strangling a pencil would resolve the issue. I bet on a multiplication problem.
3. Ants in His Pants - the kid that just can't keep still - the kid who picks his nose and eats it (it's a habit that he's growing out of - I have one month to rid him of it completely) - he was working so diligently on his test. I imagine that he was thinking of my "if we make loud noises and disturb others everyone will have to redo the test." I imagine he was thinking this at the moment he FELL OUT OF HIS CHAIR. Right onto the floor.
I'm not sure how we avoided the giggle outburst, but we did. I bit my lip and had to busy myself immediately, in order to get my mind off of the kid that had just fallen on the floor. He hopped right back up and got right back to work. I guess he was just blown out of his chair.
These kids... these amazing kids - they work so hard all year. We work so hard all year, making progress and then taking a few steps back when we need to in order to get it all together. They look at us with honest eyes, hoping that we are teaching them all they need to know. Giving them all of the tools they will need in order to succeed. This test doesn't measure all of that - but it is measured by our confidence and determination during these few weeks.