Today was the last day of test prep for the year. Standardized testing begins next week. I resisted the temptation to vent about testing for the past 4 weeks of test practice because what more can I say that I haven't already said. However, after the kids left today I took some time cleaning up the room and preparing for next week. With 6 weeks left in the school year, I spent the afternoon taking down any evidence of academics because, god forbid, I leave something up that might be on the test. Funnily enough, even though we're only testing language arts and math, I also had to take down the materials from the science unit I'm in the middle of teaching. Each day, the test takes an hour more or less to complete. With a daily schedule of 8:00am to 3:00 PM, that leaves us with approximately 5 hours left in the day to keep the kids busy, like maybe by teaching. The worry about securing the tests has become almost as important as the test itself. (Even more silly is this is the last year we will be taking this test, so why does it even matter, but that's a different post). We still have so much time left in the day and the year that it's illogical to require schools to remove materials used for teaching, especially ones that aren't even on the test. We'll be doing a lot of "busy work" simply to make it through the day. Which is unfortunate and really boring. As I took things down, I also had a twinge of worry that baring the classroom will be more of a distraction to the kids than leaving instruction there. Most wouldn't even notice if I posted the answers on the board, but panic might set in for some who have used the learning materials in the room.
After a couple of months sabbatical (due to being too busy for anything more than walking the dog 3 miles each day, which is a must) from Jillian Michaels' Shred workout, I got back to it this week. And I'm in utter PAIN! It's a good work out, and before I stopped I was on level 3. Level 1 has literally leveled me. Having used muscles that I haven't used in awhile, well lets just say my thighs scream when I sit, stand, or walk down the stairs, my abs cramp when I lean forward or roll over in bed, and I can't lift my arms...all evident by my repeated guttural cries of "Ow, ow, ow" when any of these muscles are used, even the thought of using them hurts. A good reminder to not stop in the first place.