16 Things You Can Do While Actively Monitoring during Standardized Testing (or the next time you’re crazy bored)

I know I use a lot of superlatives, but administering standardized tests is pretty close to the worst.

If you haven’t been through the horror of standardized testing before, I know what you’re thinking. “What’s so hard about handing out papers and watching students take a test? That sounds pretty great to me. I would love to do nothing for six hours!”

Wrong-o, my friend.

See, the type of “nothing” that you are thinking of probably involves a lot of things—reading a magazine or a book, checking your phone, looking around idly—but this is not the “doing nothing” of standardized test administration. While administering a standardized test, the only two things you can do are 1) walk around the room, and 2) watch students take a test.

No computer/phone/technology of any kind.

No writing, drawing, doing crossword puzzles, or Sudoku.

No lunges, jumping jacks, or anything that would distract

No grading papers or getting caught up on work.

No sitting for more than a few minutes.

No standing in one place.

No zoning out.

The State calls this “actively monitoring.” It’s not that actively monitoring in itself is terrible, but hours of it (and for several days at a time) will turn anyone into their basest self.

After years of active monitoring, I’ve developed many coping mechanisms, mental and physical activities that can be done while actively monitoring that won’t distract children or get you in trouble.  WIN-WIN!  (If you’re not a teacher, you can use any of these the next time you’re getting an CT scan!)

16 Things You Can Do While Actively Monitoring During Standardized Testing:

1. Wear a pedometer.

Set up a contest with other teachers to see who can get the highest step count during the day without being distracting to students testing. Whoever wins gets, I don’t know, a bottle of 100 year-old single malt scotch. Hahaha. Just kidding (or am I?) But make it something good.  

2. do a few laps around the room pretending (in your head) to be an olympic speed skater during a slow-motion replay 

Can you tell I was watching the winter Olympics when I wrote this?

3. Walk down the rows of desks imagining you’re:

  • walking down the aisle to marry your favorite celebrity
  • walking the plank on a ship and all of the students are pirates
  • walking in a cemetery and all the students are ghosts
  • scuba-walking on the bottom of the ocean floor and all your students are sea creatures

4. do the active monitoring workout!

  • Abs: I read somewhere that one of the most effective ab workouts is simply exhaling all of your air, then tensing up your ab muscles as hard as you can. I’ll let you know when I have a six-pack.
  • Legs: Put ankle weights on during a break of at the beginning of the day, and do calf-raises when you get to the back of the room
  • Arms: Flex your bicep as hard as you can for various increments of time

5. Imagine which animal each student be.

6. Imagine who you would be friends with if you were that age in school right now.

7. If your group of students
somehow got stranded on a desert island, which job would each student have?

For example, firewood collector, hunter, shelter builder, resident artist, clown, etc.

8. Dream up your Best Day Ever. 

Try to plan out every last detail, imagining that you don’t have a budget. What would you eat for meals? You would stay in one place the whole day or jump around to different places in a teleport? Who all would you see—friends and family, celebrities, or a combination?

9. Think about what kind of unrealistic things would make the world a better place. 

  • If streetlamps were also bubble machines
  • If hallways were trampolines
  • If instead of receipts we were handed chocolate chip cookies
  • If we got paychecks for laughing instead of working

10. Think about your answers to these compelling “Would you rather” questions

  • Would you rather get pooped on by a bird every time you go outside, or never get pooped on but be allowed outside for 5 hours on Saturdays only?
  • Would you rather have to shout “BLESS ME!” after every time you sneezed, or not be able to tell the difference between a muffin and a baby?
  • Would you rather have to smell a fart all the time or have super bad breath?

(These questions brought to you by my students.)

11. Think about how happy it would make you if a parade of your favorite animals and/or people just randomly burst into the room.

Also think about what song would be playing during the parade, what color the confetti would be, who would be the Grand Marshal, etc.

12. Look at the items in the room and think about how you would use them for survival if there was a zombie apocalypse.

13. Think about where on your campus you would hide if there was a school-wide Hide-and-Seek with a $1,000,0000 prize

14. Use some Crest White Strips or other teeth whitening agent

15. Buy three different kinds of gum and time all three of them to see which one loses flavor the fastest

16. Take your pulse before and after thinking about the most annoying thing you can think of and see if it changes

Wishing you a happy and healthy testing season,