How To Help Make Even Your Kids’ Standardized Testing FUN

Have school-aged kids? Okay, so standardized testing, right? A dirty word. Well, two dirty words, actually. I just know some government committee somewhere didn’t think it would be a good idea to have a class of third graders–nine-year-olds, mind you–sit in place for three hours and take a grueling cumulative test.

But these are the cards we’re dealt, and I have to tell you, my son’s school has rolled with it. Brilliantly.

Maybe a lot of schools do something like ours has, I dunno. This is my first time at the rodeo since our eldest is just now finishing third grade, the grade at which these standardized tests begin.

All the third-through-fifth graders at our school (along with teachers, assistants, the principal, and janitors) made a totally cute video to the tune of “Call Me, Maybe.” [The above is not our school’s video–I found this one on YouTube… Ours is MUCH cuter, OF COURSE…   😉  But this gives you an idea.] So we’ve all been singing along at home with Big Bro: “This is test time / We worked like crazy / And we are ready / SO TEST ME, BABY!” The classes each choreographed their lines, and it seems to have been a welcome breather in between focused review and preparation. [What a great idea! Thank you awesome elementary teachers & staff! I LOVE Y’ALL!]

01 standardized testing fun

So anyhoo, fast forward to the first of two days of testing. Big Bro’s had a good night’s sleep, a healthy breakfast, and I’m driving him to school… and we’re all singing–Big Bro, Li’l Bro, Sissy, and me–doing the motions, keeping things light and his nerves at bay. And it hits me: “Test Me Baby” was totally begging to be on a t-shirt for Friday.

It’s funny (right?), kinda cool (kinda?), and (most importantly) something to focus on other than the pressure that sweet young man piles on himself over these tests.

02 standardized testing fun

So, I came back home and pulled out the Speedball screenprinting kit my little bro got me a couple of years ago.

03 standardized testing fun

First, I free-handed a “TEST ME BABY” layout and cut out just the letters.

04 standardized testing fun

I did three test runs to get the hang of it before deciding that I wanted something a little more clean-cut.

05 standardized testing fun

So I set up the layout on the computer (simple paint program that came with my laptop), printed it out, then meticulously cut out every area I wanted to print on the shirt. [I whited out a lot of the middle of the letters to save printer ink–I just needed the outlines for cut lines.]

06 standardized testing fun

This was tedious, and I wavered a time or two on whether it was worth the effort (in the end, it was!).

07 standardized testing fun

Then I used that as a shirt screen print for Big Bro. But man, all that razor cutting for one shirt? Ouch! So I made a few “posters” on construction paper, and then printed shirts for Big Bro’s best bud and a couple of his teachers.

08 standardized testing fun

[Had I thought of doing it sooner, we could have made a whole slew of them for the kids & staff! Next year, maybe?!]

09 standardized testing fun

Phewf! Anyway, we made it through round one of the End Of Grade tests (EOG’s)… Here’s to nine more years? Huzzah!

So what do you & your kids’ school do to make standardized testing more bearable? Do tell!


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