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How I Handled...

Capping State-Test Week
With a Fun and
Educational Reward

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We always like to reward students for their extra effort during state-test week each spring. But we wanted to plan a fun event that would be more than a big party. Our teachers came up with a special event that was super fun and educational!

The Problem:

Our state's mandated testing keeps students cooped up in the classroom taking assessment tests each spring. Teachers wanted to reward the students for doing their best work and keeping focused on the exams, but they also recognized that a reward that had educational value would be the best kind of reward. Of course, rewarding students in educational ways becomes problematic as spring weather improves and the sun shines. Finding ways to play and learn can be a fun challenge.

The Solution:

Our teachers came up with a great idea! The activity they planned would be a real reward and it would have educational value. The teachers planned a science/math activity that would give students freedom to "go fly a kite"!

Students spent time in their advisory groups assembling individual kites and then tying four kites together to form a larger tetrahedron mega-kite (that's the mathematical part). On the morning after the final assessment test was completed, students gathered outside for the science part of the lesson. They flew large groups of kites on the ball field. Wind currents carried the different sizes of tetrahedron's to varying heights.

Those flying kites were a beautiful sight on a very fun school day. Teachers had given students a reward for their testing efforts while staying within the guidelines of the math and science curriculum. Not a bad way to end the testing weeks! Also not a bad way to show students that they can "go fly a kite," have fun, and still learn.

The Reflection:

Now that we have experienced this fun activity, I have only one additional recommendation. That would be to have additional activities planned to keep students engaged and entertained after they have completed their part in the kite-flying event. Or in case the weather doesn't cooperate with a great sunny and breezy day.

About the How I Handled... Team of Principal Problem Solvers
The How I Handled... series is intended to be practical resource for all principals and principals-to-be. Each week, members of Education World's How I Handled team share how they solved actual problems relating to school leadership, parent involvement, professional development, and a host of other "principal" responsibilities. Six principals comprise our How I Handled team; two of them are elementary school principals, two work at the middle level, and two are high school principals. Team members remain anonymous; in that way, they can share freely the range of issues/problems they are called on to solve each day.

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