Thursday, May 9, 2013

Testing boys

Some of the students I form the closest bonds with are boys. I love all my "children" but I have a soft spot in my heart for those boys that are "wild" or rambunctious or just try people's nerves.

As we've been taking standardized tests for the bulk of each day this week, I've had ample time to observe and reflect on "my" boys. The class for which I administer tests has 18 boys in it....and 6 girls.

Every last boy in the class has a phenomenal sense of humor. They're so stinkin' funny, AND they understand my sarcasm. :)

However, they're boys. I have more than a few diagnosed ADD or ADHD and they love to play. We play games all the time, throw balls to answer questions, move around, stand at our seats, and use stress balls to keep us quiet and focused during direct instruction.

Know how many of those things are permissible during standardized testing? None. Nada. Zilch. The vast majority of my boys have worked their tails off this week to do their absolute best on these tests and make their teachers proud. The problem is that, as wonderful as their behavior is while they're testing, most of my boys have had to continue to sit silently in their seats for two hours or more each day after they've finished testing- often while our entire room is done but we're waiting for students in other wings of the school to finish testing. This is when they get into trouble- after they've worked so hard. I'm worried that we penalize them just for being boys ad for not being girls. Their attention spans are shorter than those of some of the girls in my class, who can read for hours without so much as shifting positions. They're not disrespectful. They're not violent. They're not in any way being "bad". They're just boys. And it is like. Pulling. Teeth. To get them to do what the powers that create standardized tests expect of them.

As if God knew exactly what I needed, a friend shared today that she's reading a new book titled "Wild Things: the art of nurturing boys." I downloaded it and have read the introduction. I can already tell I'm going to enjoy reading and annotating this book. And perhaps, it will serve as a guide for me to use in my classrooms, whether they have four walls or are bound only by the ocean and the sky.

Anybody else experience this when testing boys? (Or being tested by boys)