3 Lesson Ideas for Testing Season

It's nearly the end of the school year, which can be very exciting! However, that also means that state exams are about to be administered. That, usually, is not very exciting. 

I have taught in schools where the specialists in the building were utilized as test administrators, canceling those classes for a day or period of time, as well as teaching as if nothing was happening, with the expectation of keeping the noise down.

Here are some suggestions for navigating lesson planning during the upcoming testing season:

Take Your Classes Outside

I know this can be easier said than done, especially depending on where you live. I live in the south and it can be hot and humid this time of year, making outdoor music class not always the most enjoyable or preferable mode of teaching. 

However, when the weather cooperates, by taking my classes outside, and away from the responsibilities of testing (primarily being quiet), I can provide a time and space for students to get up and play. Even grades that aren't part of testing are having to be extra quiet and may be missing some of their normal movement breaks or activities! 

Check with your administrators if there is a space outside you can bring your students and let them play their favorite singing games. 

Provide Student Choice Activities

Whether or not you're inside or outside, student choice during testing is a great way to give students some control of what happens at school and release the stress and anxiety they may be holding on to.

If you're outside, allow students to choose the games and activities you play. I will also allow the class to split into smaller groups if there are multiple singing games students want to play. For example, I may have on second grade group of students playing Acka Backa and another one playing In and Out the Dusty Bluebells! 

If you're inside, set out various games that they can play in small groups. I usually like to leave a variety of games students can play for them to choose. This may not be the best time to try out that Jenga rhythm game or bust out the flyswatters, but card games like Go Fish!, Memory, BINGO, and so on all do well for a quieter environment. 

If you're looking for some already pre-made games, check out my Ultimate Game Bundle! Just print, laminate, and go! 

Music Game Bundle: Ultimate Set of Card and Board Games

Use or Create Stories

Never underestimate the value of a great book! Even my older students still enjoy being read to and sung too. Allow them to pick their favorite story books, song tales, or topic of music that interests them and learn it together! I'm sure your school or local library has a whole collection of books that would work great, especially if your collection is sparse.

One of my favorite activities, that I will usually leave for a substitute, is to let students create their own stories about music or music concepts. They could create their own verses to known songs. Or, have them take a concept they've been working on and create characters and a story. I've found that for first grade the prompt of "how sol met mi" is a great one they really enjoy and have many clever and witty stories for how to help students remember the concept! This also works great as a collaborative project with art and library/media!

Testing season can be difficult to plan for, but there are options out there to keep students engaged, active, AND quiet (if necessary). Best of luck during the last weeks or month of school!

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