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Teacher Organization: 7 Hacks for Testing Week

One of the most stressful weeks of all time is testing week. Why is it so stressful? Where should I begin!? There are strict rules that have to be followed otherwise everything will be null and void. In addition, your students are essentially on their own. You just have to hope they have learned everything they were supposed to.  It’s the equivalent of giving your children complete control of the house; even though you are in the room, you can’t say anything other than “try your best.” While this may be one of the most stressful weeks of the school year, there are ways to make it a little easier with organization. Check out these seven teacher organization hacks for a smooth(er) testing week. 

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Teacher Hack #1: Folders are your friends! 

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When test time comes there are often papers galore for you to mess with! This teacher organization hack will help with that! One of the best things you can do for yourself is to have a folder with all of your important information in it. This could include: 

  • A copy of student log-ins 
  • Trouble shooting information 
  • If you need to read rules every day what the rules are 
  • A sheet of paper that says “Testing: Do Not Disturb”

Having all of your testing materials in one central location will make your life so much easier when it comes down to test week! 

It’s the equivalent of giving your children complete control of the house; even though you are in the room, you can’t say anything other than “try your best.” Click To Tweet

Teacher Hack #2: Be supply savvy

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A big frustration when it comes time for testing is when students do not have what they need! (Insert big heavy sigh here because this is a HUGE pet peeve of mine.) When you send things home with your students. Send them with a checklist which includes everything they need for testing such as: 

  • 3 testing pencils 
  • Clean notebook paper 
  • Calculator (if allowed) 
  • Headphones (if needed) 
  • A water bottle (trust me you’ll thank me for this) 

At the bottom of the checklist have a place for parents to sign. You can give your students some class points, a sticker, or some sort of “grade” for turning in their signed checklist along with all the items needed. 

While this checklist with a signature can be good for helping parents remember to put these items in their student’s backpack, the chance of someone forgetting is pretty great. You should still have a pencil for everyone as well as some scrap paper.

If you have the kind of pencils my students have, the disappearing kind, then try starting testing week out with a pencil war. This fun “challenge” will help you keep your sanity during an insane week and is a must have in your teacher organization tool box.. 

Teacher Hack #3: Signal for signs 

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Another issue students tend to have during testing week is a weak bladder. Everyone sudden has to go to bathroom but never at the same time. Usually this bathroom break is an emergency and because you don’t want to test the waters, your door may become a revolving door of student’s going on a “break.” 

One way to combat this phenomenon is to create a signal system for your students. This can be a simple yellow, green, and red card that each student has on his/her desk. If the student is feeling like they are going to need a bathroom break soon, they should put their yellow card up and if they have to go now put the red card up. If this is still too much power for your students, you can be in charge of the cards. 

To take back control and still use a subtle sign for your students that a break is coming, you can put a yellow piece of paper up when there is five minutes left until a break. Then you can put the red paper up for students to know they can pause when it is a good time.

Finally, put a green piece of paper up when they can get up from their desks and take a break. To stop the break from being too long, you should have a timer set and give your students a two-minute warning. In fact, no teacher organization tool-box is complete without a timer.

Teacher Hack #4: Simple log-in locations 

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Logging into an online testing system can be the bane of any teacher’s existence during testing week. If you could be at 25 desks at one time logging off of them in, it would be so much easier. There are several ways to combat the log-in issues including: 

  • Using a slide chart 
  • Providing student with a log-in notecard
  • Stick it to their desks with a label maker 

There are several tips to helping students remember their log-ins. Practice makes perfect usually, but sometimes this isn’t an option during test week. Get creative with your log-in helpers and take one piece of stress off your back. By keeping your teacher organization tool belt full of everyday hacks like these, you are going to find you are lessed stress and able to enjoy your days as a teacher more.

Teacher Hack #5: Break down the break

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Not only should you signal when students are going to get a break, you should break down what the break is for. Before the test, talk to your students about using their break for: 

  • Using the bathroom 
  • Refiling their water bottles 
  • Stretching 
  • Getting up and walking around 
  • Quietly talking but not about the test they are taking 

Giving your students ideas as to how they should use their break will hopefully help keep you on track. If you want, you can even break down the break further telling them the first five minutes should be for the bathroom and filling your water bottle and the last 3 minutes should be stretching and socializing. Finally, the last two minutes should be for getting back to your desk and ready to resume testing. 

Teacher Hack #6: Review for readiness  

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A big part of test week is giving your students the keys to your classroom and excepting they know what they know and they don’t know what they don’t. This is so hard for any teacher to swallow. We are trained to believe no question is stupid and we are always here to help (expect during a state test). While it’s completely understandable why they don’t want us to help our students out, it’s very difficult to not give help when a student needs it. What we can do, is help them review for the test the week prior. 

There are so many fun ways to review for state testing and you should do as many as possible. Each type of review game targets a different type of learner and it gets them up and moving before a week of sit down and don’t talk. Taking a break from the norm will release the stress students might be harboring for testing week as well. 

Teacher Hack #7: Remember to relax

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Finally, the best way to stay organized and keep your sanity throughout testing week is to just relax. I know that sounds super hard to do, but you know you are a phenomenal teacher and your students are going to do the best they can. It won’t do you or your students any good to get all worked up. Should you stress the importance of these tests? Absolutely. Should you also tell your students to simply do their best? Of course! You never want to put unneeded pressure on your students. If you do, they are bound to under-perform. 

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That’s a Wrap 

State testing week can be a trying week not only for you, but for your students as well. Try to make your life easier by being as organized as possible from the start. Being organized during testing week will make a stressful week a little bit more manageable and your brain will thank you for it later. Happy testing ya’ll! 

xoxo Farrah Henley

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