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  • Mrs G

Check In & Check Out with your Students During State Testing

I love to check in and check out (CICO) with my students all year round. (You can read about why I got started here and my top three reasons YOU should start too). But, I believe that there are times throughout the school year when you get more bang for your buck from the check-in check-out process.

Starting September by investing time in getting to know your students can set the tone for an outstanding year. After winter break is a great time to reconnect with your kids. Anytime your classroom management feels like a struggle can be a good time to focus on building relationships. However, I believe the absolute most important week of the year to Check In and Check Out with your students is the week of state testing.

State Testing is the Worst

Can we just say it? State testing is so hard on EVERYONE, students, teachers, and parents included. I think every teacher knows what their kiddos are capable of and we want so badly for them to be tested in a way that allows them to show it. Students are stressed. They are anxious or in some cases completely checked out.

Once I had a student sit on a computer in my classroom for the better part of a day working on the writing portion of a state test. I was impressed and maybe even a little smug as I imagined test scores flying off the charts. Not wanting to disturb the student I walked subtly by and took a peek over their shoulder. I was shocked to see “I LOVE Cats” typed HUNDREDS of times. I loved it. My student had found a way to make an unbearable task into something enjoyable. This is a good life skill, isn’t it? Don’t we occasionally need to find things to occupy our brains in staff meetings, presentations, (and maybe even during a long story from a spouse)? My student was making a point and I understood it loud and clear. After that test, my paraeducators and I decided from that moment on we would only be measuring attitude and effort when it comes to state testing.

Motivation for State Testing

As a new, friendlier, whole-student approach, we decided we would individually check in and check out with students the week of testing to hear directly from students how they were feeling. We would teach and review testing strategies like pace, focus, and double-checking, but we would not make it intimidating. And we committed. Hours upon hours were spent talking about the things that really matter for testing.

Since then, life during testing weeks has seemed… better. We still don’t like state testing in my room. But, we are not afraid. There is less stress. We hold each other accountable for a positive attitude and an increased effort on difficult tasks. We check in and we check out. As a team, we get through it, together, with our self-esteem intact.

How do you support your students?

I love looking at Pinterest and Facebook during state testing and seeing all of the amazing, confidence-building things other teachers are doing to build their students up. I would love to hear about the things you do to support and motivate your students during state testing!



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