The old-timers around here know that I have a test every Friday. There are several reasons for this:

  1. I like to teach to the test. If your test is good, it’s a good thing to teach to it. I usually work backwards from Friday’s test when I am planning for the week. This is part of the reason I can give them all the homework for the week on Monday; I already know what I’m going to ask on Friday.
  2. It lets me know what I need to rerun, and when we can move on. I look at the item analysis in my clicker software, and I know exactly which things the majority of them didn’t get. And there’s always a Husker Du (Norwegian for “Do you Remember?” and a ’70s punk band) section on the test, made up of reruns of the questions most of them missed the week before.
  3. It lets me read KBARR responses and talk to them individually about their reading every week. And most importantly, that means I don’t take home stacks of notebooks to read on my time. While they test, I read and hound/encourage/interrogate/chat them up about their reading and thinking.
  4. It’s part of the routine. Both the kids and I need a routine. Monday we copy homework and go over the previous Friday’s test, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday we work on vocab and whatever else, Thursday is the Vocab Relay, Friday is test day, and etc.

My regulars also might recall that I have several options available for those who finish the test before the period is over (from 2008):

“If you’re finished early, you have four choices: read or do homework, Trackwords – this week it says 195 words are possible, doodle on the back of your sheet – this week’s theme is ‘the aliens have landed,’ or put your head down on your desk and go nigh nigh.”

Trackwords Grid

Trackwords Grid

Trackwords is an old PC game that gives you a grid of letters and asks you to form words by chaining adjoining letters together. So you could go from the R in the second row to the A below it and then T and E to form RATE. But you can’t go from that R to the U, because they aren’t touching. I give +1 for the first 15 words (3+ letters long, no foreign, no abbreviations), and another +1 for every 10 after that. Most of the early finishers choose this option. They LOVE this. I just generate a puzzle, snap a screenshot of the grid and paste it into the test. My old class dictionaries get a lot of use on Fridays.

“Is kibar a word?”

“The dictionaries are over there.”

I am an inveterate doodler. My faculty meeting agendas are completely covered on both sides with doodle after doodle. It’s a running gag at every meeting I attend; they all want to see what I’m doodling. Mostly it isn’t all that different from what I was doodling in seventh grade: big heads with bulging eyes, propeller beanies, beatniks with shades, maybe a spaceship or two, a guillotine if the meeting is especially lame. Anyway, I like to channel some of that in my students. I use the doodle theme to preview things we will be reading. Before “Monsters on Maple Street” we doodled on the theme of monsters. Before The Giver, we doodled on the future, the perfect society, and love (oh there were some good ones for that, among all the hearts). I offer up to +3 for impressive doodles

Not many nap.

So. This year I have a serious doodler. She was the one who “doesn’t make good decisions” in the post the got deleted from the hack we experienced a couple weeks ago. Her first question, as she walks in the door on Fridays is, “What’s the doodle theme?” She sometimes stays into lunch so she can finish her doodle on the back of the test. She already has an A+; she doesn’t need the measly 3 points I will award for the doodle. It’s all about the art. I wish I had been scanning them this whole year.

Last Friday the doodle theme was “A Perfect World.” (Sorry for my phone’s poor picture quality; it only cost me $10.)


  1. The theme was “A Perfect World.” The question is, hers or mine?
  2. I especially like the umbrella drink. I think I need a cup holder for my rolley chair.
  3. “My Lord.” Heh, heh. I think I might make that a rule now.
  4. I also like how I have a vaguely displeased look on my face. As though I don’t think the kid with the stick is bowing low enough or something.

I do wonder, though, about the kid with the beard.