Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Exam Moments

I have had an amazing last week of school. It is incredible to sit back and realise what these wonderful children have learnt. I decided to give the children 'exams' at the end of this term. This was just to practice exam writing and to show them that exams are not scary; not for grading. We did the whole set up with getting pencils ready, drinking beforehand etc. They were so excited that they nagged me for days before about when it would be finally time for their exams. These children range from 6 - 9 years so I had prepared exams based on their levels. On the day of the exam, I had four 5 and a half-year-olds also beg for an exam so I had to quickly write one for them as well. They were so enthusiastic. I had offered that they could go spend time in the pre-primary and do 'easy' work but they were so keen for the exam, I had to give them a chance. The exam went amazingly well. The children were all so well behaved and eager to do their best. They also did incredibly well and achieved good marks (not the point but still good to see). After the exam, they were all so proud and eager to share their experience. The next morning when they arrived at school, they ALL asked me for another exam. It sounds crazy but it's true. They are so excited about learning that even exams are fun. What amazing kids.

I love those books with funny exam answers so I have to share a few of my favourites from these exams:

Question: Draw a food chain - Answer: He drew all different food holding hands in a chain
5-year-old boy

Question: How many shapes are there - Answer: Lots
7-year-old girl

Question: Write 'th' words - Answer: think, that, thousand - I loved this moment in the exam - this six-year-old boy was trying to remember his 'th' phonogram words and suddenly I saw his face light up. He looked around at me and quickly went back to his paper - I knew something was up so I went over to check his work, He looked up at me, looked down at his paper, looked up at the poster we have on the wall of the decimal system and then quickly back at me. He had copied the word thousand from the poster. I know a lot of teachers would correct this as a cheat but I just admired his innovative thinking. He sat looking at me with a guilty grin, waiting for the hammer to fall, but I just smiled and walked away. The fact that he could find a 'th' word in a big poster in the classroom was enough for me, especially as he is only six. We encourage the children to think for themselves, I will not discourage them when they do so.

The whole point of the exam was to realise that exams are not scary, they are a life skill: the children all achieved that and I am so proud of them.

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