Wednesday, April 28, 2010

It's TAKS time in Texas

Be vewy, vewy quiet. 
It is TAKS time in Texas.   

All over the Lone Star State students are being remonstrated, at this very moment, to walk softly, silence their voices in the halls and avoid, at all costs any loud sounds that might disturb the test takers. 

A misplaced whoop in second grade could cause a third grader to startle and snap their no. 2 pencil lead. 
A burst of unwarranted laughter in the kindergarten wing, could cause a fifth grader, debating the best possible answer to a question on  the Science TAKS, to lose focus.  

The day before the tests, they came to the school library in ones or two, then in small groups and finally, three classes at a time (that is 60 kids in the check out line)  to acquire books to read, in case they finish a test before the rest of the class.  

The groups built in size and intensity and frequency,  hitting the library like waves hitting a beach in a storm.  At the campus where I was working, I was buoyed to see great swathes of Andrew Clements books streaming out.  There were runs on Avi novels.  BabyMouse books flew out of the library along with nonfiction books on branches of the military.   To my amazement, tome after tome of the Nancy Drew series were carted away in the hands of fourth graders.

Younger students, who will be exhorted into silence this week, carried out stacks and stacks of Magic Treehouse books and Ron Roy's A-Z Mysteries. 

While the books were being scanned out of the library at the check-out desk,  the excellent library aide moved swiftly around the library covering up any visible words. Posters were rolled up or taken down from the walls.  Signs like "Fiction" and "Magazines" were covered lest they provide some hint to the students who would be testing in the library the next day.  

NSA, FBI, CIA, eat your hearts out. There is no place more secure, than a campus during testing week.  Parents, don't think you can bring lunch to your student this Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.  Try as you might, to quote Gandalf, "You shall not pass."

A great deal of sound and fury to prepare for this week. Good luck and a BookMoot salute to  all the students, teachers and principals whose futures hang in the balance.  

Brave little souls, just keep turning the pages in the test booklet. It will be over soon.

Texans, please!  Remember to walk and drive softly.  The sound waves from your car horn honking could, imperceptibly,  jostle a child's elbow as they bubble in and be the undoing of some fourth grader teacher's hopes and dreams. 



tanita✿davis said...

This is both hilarious and awful. Been there, done that, have the T-shirt, which, incidentally says, SHHHHHH!

Poor kids.

Diandra Mae said...

UGH. The weight of silence that would take place every February and April in my classroom was like a small death to me every year. I hate-hate-hate TAKS.

Thanks for sardonic post. ;)

Michael Spradlin said...

Poor kids. I feel sorry for everyone who has to contend with this: teachers, students, adminstrators and parents.

Jennifer Morian Frye said...

In Indiana it is ISTEP. Same story though. They used to do these in the fall, which always made me think of the line from Willy Wonka in which the teacher tells the class that he has "just decided that the test we normally take on Friday, over what we've learned during the week, will now take place on Monday before we've learned it."

Camille said...

Tanita: lol
Jennifer: Brilliant!
Michael is right. It is equal opportunity misery.
Diandra: Were you a fourth gr. teacher?

Ms. Yingling said...

One year, after the Reading Assessment, students were not allowed to bring books into the testing area because they might somehow LEARN something that would give them an advantage on the test, or at the very least throw suspicion on the teacher. Insane. I loved Sonnenblick's take on testing in After Ever After. Authors, how about a book where every principal in the country goes out and sets fire to the testing booklets in the parking lots. Sigh.

lillibet said...

I took my fifth graders for a "Science Walk" one early spring day to get them out of the classroom. (They were driving me nuts, to be honest.) They had bags and firm instructions and were doing really well keeping their voices low. Well, a fourth grade teacher comes running out, waving her arms and yelling at me like a banshee. " students can't hear your class out here...they are taking the writing test!!!" Those poor kids... standardized testing is ONE useful form of assessment for children. The importance placed on them has reduced impressive, smart teachers to ranting lunatics. Texas needs to TAK time to get perspective.

Camille said...

Ah, 4th grade TAKS writing ... so important that NO other test of any kind is scheduled for that day.