After the intensity of statewide testing, how do you create meaningful learning opportunities while avoiding burnout for both you and your students?
You’re in the home stretch now — testing is over and summer break is around the corner. But as students get antsy for the end of the school year, it can be tough to keep them engaged. So how can you ease the post-test blues while offering activities that aren’t just time-fillers? Follow these dos and don’ts.
Post-test learning: What to do
For many educators, the No. 1 consideration for post-test learning is something that offers high engagement. These tips can help you maintain your students’ attention.
Do give students the power of choice
Standardized testing can burn students out on subjects they have little interest in to begin with. Re-energize your classroom by offering learning opportunities that allow students to choose a subject or activity that is engaging to them, ensuring student buy-in.
Do allow students to draw on their personal lives
Regardless of the type of learning or subject you’re working with, give students the challenge of connecting their work to their unique interests and experiences. Exam-weary students will welcome a break from research, as well as the chance to work with ideas or materials that inspire them.
Do encourage idea-sharing
Increase engagement by having students teach and learn from each other. Build presentations, gallery walks, and pair and shares into your lesson plans.
Do offer a variety of assessment options
Some students may want to write a proposal or an essay, while others might prefer to give an oral presentation or create an art project. Make your assessment options flexible, yet rigorous, and your students’ enthusiasm will pleasantly surprise you.
Post-test learning: What not to do
It’s equally important to avoid common pitfalls for post-test learning. Keep your kids engaged until the last school bell rings by steering clear of these don’ts in your end-of-year curriculum.
Don’t make assignments too rigid
Avoid a one-size-fits-all approach as much as possible. After the rigidness of standardized testing, students will welcome classroom work that allows for flexibility and creativity.
Don’t give students busy work
Everyone hates busy work — including students. Make sure your post-test lesson plans involve real assignments with real purpose to keep students engaged and on their toes.
Don’t fail to provide feedback
If your kids aren’t getting feedback about their work, they might assume that what they do doesn’t matter. Make time to weigh in on their assignments.
Don’t lower the rigor of your curriculum
Lowering your standards will only invite your students to lower theirs as well. Let students know that you expect them to give it their all, and reinforce that message through your curriculum.
Don’t forget to have fun
Think of post-test learning opportunities as your students’ reward for enduring the long testing period. Allow your students’ creativity to flourish, and learning will follow.