Keeping our lucky pancakes crossed.

This is it. After weeks and months of preparation – and yelling and crying and worrying when things didn’t go so well – we’ve finally arrived at STAAR test time. Today and tomorrow, the third graders (and fourth and fifth, but pfffft – I’ve only got one in 3rd) will buckle down and work on standardized tests all. day. long. As if that didn’t sound miserable enough, the tests decide who gets to pass to the next grade. And what kind of funding our school gets. And test grades for the kiddos and the school. Oh, and bragging rights. Can’t forget about those.

No one is immune. Gracie’s Gifted&Talented class has been struggling with the practice tests. And it’s not like all the struggling occurred early on, either. They are wildly inconsistent. One test will find the class bemoaning 80s, 60s, and 20s. Everyone buckles down after whining and crying (the teachers, parents, and the kids, natch), and then the next test might yield few 100s and 90s. I find it both relieving and worrying that everyone is having trouble – if it was just Gracie, I would know it was because she’s racing through the test and not choosing the best right answer. But if even J.G. is having trouble, that means the test is genuinely hard. Or confusing. Or everything altogether.

To make things a little easier, the school (or some group attached to it? I’m not sure.) gave each student taking the STAAR test two coupons for free breakfast at McDonalds, one for each day of the test. I like the acknowledgement that no one can concentrate on an empty stomach, and that not every kid at that school starts the day on a level playing field. At least providing the chance for a decent breakfast means the child might have a fair shot of outlasting the stomach grumblies.

Which is why I found myself getting up early this morning, rushing the girls through our routine, and making a side trip to McDonald’s drive-through. Gracie got her fruit and maple oatmeal, apple slices, and juice. Bee chose hot cakes. (And so did mama.) I felt a little less guilty reminding Gracie to go through the test slowly, and read each question carefully, and re-read them if she finished early, and to check each answer twice to make sure it was the BEST answer, knowing that she was at least getting a “cool” breakfast. (Hey, she was so thrilled, I could have made her promise to clean the entire house and she would have said yes!)

We’ve done everything we could. The students have been prepped, every possible practice test has been administered, pep talks have been given (and reiterated time and again), and their tummies have been sufficiently filled. Rewards have even been dangled. Now we just have to cross fingers and hope the magic of the hot cakes and test gods holds out.

Luck, Gracie!! You can do it!


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2 Responses to “Keeping our lucky pancakes crossed.”

  1. Kathy Says:

    Standardized testing is the worst! Some children just don’t test well no matter how well they know the material. How neat that everyone gets free breakfast though. Best of luck Gracie. Take your time – you will be awesome!

  2. Kim Says:

    “Lucky pancakes” sounds an awful lot like “Belgian waffles.” Just sayin.

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