Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Table Top Dividers for Tests... and Other Activities.

Well... two firsts have occurred!
First first: My real life got in the way of my blogging life. And I have to say I didn't like it!

Testing is a week away and it seems as if I am either trying to teach forty-three skills before The Test, or I am trying to design an interesting way to review eighty-seven skills before The Big Day (and the three that follow!)

Second first: I just found out how difficult it is to take pictures of cardboard and plywood. Who knew?!
And that's what this post is about!

After teaching a million thirty years, I am continually amazed that some of my best teaching skills and materials have been acquired in the last five years. I have often found myself saying (out loud/to myself): Why didn't I learn THAT earlier?!

And so it is with my plywood and cardboard combo.

I have tried a lot of test dividers. I've purchased some, borrowed some and created some. And then a few years ago, I saw this variation in a first grade room. I borrowed one of the "bases" and asked a handy daddy {rolls eyes}  to re-create a set.

The "bases" are 1 x 4 inches One zip down the center with a table saw and we were ready to go!

And the "chipboard" is 9 by 12 inches. The cardboard can be placed in the base horizontally or vertically--depending on what you are planning to do.

We use the dividers for tests all year long. In fact, it is commonplace for a student to say, "Should I pass out out blocks and boards?"

Best of all, these little gems are called into service for other activities too! We use them when we play a game called Map-O, where we practice using latitude and longitude in a "Battleship" knock off that we call "Gereenpeace." (And Farley's Angry Birds game springs to mind, as well!)

We use these when we practice following directions to have students create "matching pictures."

We use them for any partner game where we say, "One two, three, reveal!"

Best of all when we are not hiding our work from one another, these become our mobile clipboards.  Cheap--and not a disaster if they are accidentally destroyed or left behind.

Back to testing...
I've currently adorned our dividers for our practice testing. The kids enjoy the encouragement--and have looked forward to a different character each day. (And I always love a chance to smile at DJ Inkers graphics!)

During REAL testing, of course, our blocks-and-boards will be blank. No print allowed.

We already have most things removed and/or covered up, and everything will be down next week. Our classroom looks pretty drab and bare these days!
Lately, I have found myself laughing every time I see words printed on apparel.
Will I need to say: Here is some masking tape to cover up that word on your shoe. We wouldn't want to remind people to use a capital letter in brand names...

Or: You will need to turn your shirt inside out--those words might be on The Test--no spelling or punctuation clues allowed...

There are words hidden in funny places in our room too. Today I noticed the heater is labeled!

Then again, every child can get a word of encouragement if you are lucky enough to have a SMART board... and it doesn't have to be turned on!

If you haven't finished yet, GOOD LUCK on The Test. And if you are lucky enough to be done, CONGRATS!


  1. ugh, good luck with everything Kim--what a stressful time that always is. I just love those signs you made for your students, so sweet and encouraging!

    And oh my word, I LOVE those boards and their 983 uses--I have to have some!!! Your pictures came out great--so helpful and I know they will be pinned a zillion times. Yikes, my summer project list is growing by the minute!

    ooo, I have some exciting news for you--I have some extra time on my hands 'cause we're on vacay and I finally, finally figured out that emailing thing, thanks to your help and Jen's too! Now you don't have to send emails into outer space or who-knows-where! I'll actually get them!! And I can write to you!!! Talk to you later :)

  2. What a great alternative to buying the expensive "privacy partitions"!
    A Cupcake for the Teacher

  3. Those are very cool --- I BOUGHT name tag holders that look almost like that except that they are plastic, blue, and longer . . . and cost me a fortune!!!!!! DUH!!! Where were you last year when I needed you?? :)
    Love the encouragement notes -- you rock!
    A Teeny Tiny Teacher

  4. Very clever! Boo for testing. I just finished today. Boo again.

    We cut some science boards in half, but I had to tape them to the desk to keep them from closing up on the kids LOL.

    Buzzing with Ms. B

  5. Good luck to your kiddos (and you)!!! LOVE the dividers ... and LOVE the notes of encouragement even more!!! I never thought of putting a note up on the SMARTboard ... thanks for yet ANOTHER wonderful idea!!!

    Runde's Room

  6. I love the divider idea! Last year I bought foam core tri-fold presentation boards and cut them in half...they didn't last long! These will be a great summer project!


  7. All I know is that is such a great idea!! I made ones with 3 file folders and they worked for about 2 years..we called them the anti-cheaters:) There are so many more ways you can use your creation! I LOVE it!!

  8. BeaUtiFuLLLLLLL! WoW - what a terrific idea!

    Funny story . . . I was monitoring a test for a friend who needed a small group (two kids!) in a quiet environment. So it's me and two kids in my office. Five minutes into the test, a hand goes up . . . and the boy says, "Hey, aren't we supposed to be using our privacy folders?" Guess he didn't understand that my office WAS his privacy folder . . . too cute . . .

    We finished today and they're boxed up and ready to go (the tests, not the kids!) . . . . still smiling,


  9. I'm back! Between break and testing life has been crazy! I love your dividers---I could use some for sure! Good luck on the big test day(s).

    Love from NY

  10. I had to laugh about masking taping all the words in our classroom - yay for the CST's, right?! All the ridiculous things I had to cover...

    I heard for lower elementary, teachers were directed to cover their clocks for fear that the students could use the numbers to help them.

  11. can I tell you that i have some of those bases at school - and haven't a clue what they are for? haha!!

    I use file folders - I staple 3 of them together and they make a nice little "office"

  12. Your kids will rock the test!!! You're amazing!

    Love the divider! I wish I was more handy & DIY kinda gal... I would love to make stuff myself.

    Hope you're getting some R & R this weekend!

    ❤ Mor Zrihen from...
    A Teacher's Treasure
    Teaching Treasures Shop


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