Archive for Thursday, March 29, 2007

Flying colors

Eudora West students get exciting start to assessment week

March 29, 2007

Every student at Eudora West Elementary School has a star inside, Principal Jan Irby said.

By taking state assessment tests in math and reading this week, the students had the opportunity to let their stars shine, she said.

"All of our students are stars," Irby said.

She told the students the same thing Monday morning after reading them the book "You Are Special" by Max Lucado.

Before hearing the story, students had the opportunity to watch a play presented by the fifth-grade class on the assessments. The fifth-graders used puppets to tell the younger students what they thought of the tests.

"It was pretty cool," third-grader Calvin Smoot said.

Between Monday and Friday, teachers administered six different tests to the students as mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act. The state tests will determine the school's adequate yearly progress.

Each grade took both the state's reading and math tests, Irby said.

"We were preparing for this since the beginning of September," Irby said.

The faculty will use results from the tests to create the lesson plans for the next year, Irby said.

"We prepare them for a good education," Irby said.

All of the tests were computer based, a fact that allows the district almost instant results, Irby said.

To prepare the students for the exams, the school had a day of preparation activities Monday, culminating with a schoolwide rally.

At the rally, students saw teachers from each grade level take part in skits.

The third-grade teachers followed instructions word-by-word written by students on how to make a peanut butter sandwich.

By the end, more peanut butter and jelly ended up on the teachers than on the bread.

The fourth-grade staff decided to borrow the premise of a television show to ask the question "Who's Smarter than a Fourth-Grader?"

The next sketch featured costumed teachers forming a miniature class to impart test-taking tips for the students.

The teachers informed the students how important it was to eat well and read each question thoroughly.

In between sketches, the Eudora Cardinal mascot milled between the students.

The rally's finale also took a nod from recent television.

The staff presented a version of the game show "Deal or No Deal."

Like in the show, Eudora West faculty filed in front of the students with numbered cases in hand.

At stake for the students was a 50's style sock hop party scheduled later in the year.

During the game, the students yelled to motivate the contestants ---- also West faculty ---- to aim for the party.

At the end of the game, the students got the party and celebrated by tossing up confetti and screaming.

In the following days, the students took the tests.

"Each class has a thing they do," Irby said. "We try to keep it calm over the testing period."

While waiting for dismissal Monday, third-grader Justin Toumberlin said he was ready to do well on the tests.

"I think I'm ready because I've been practicing at my home a lot and we've been doing a lot of stuff here at school," he said.

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