The Perfect Town – Illustrated

Web Image_Perfect Town.jpg


Testing Day 7 – Testing Instructions

So every day I have to read the same instructions which start with “We are ready to begin the test” and then continue for three more pages. It’s literally basic instructions on how to fill in a multiple choice question. I have to ask them to check not only that their name is on their test books, but that the numbers printed on them haven’t magically changed overnight. Anyhow, this is dedicated to everyone who has to read or listen to the same instructions, day after day after day after day…

Testing Instructions

At this point now, students
We’re ready to start
We’re not quite at that part

Today we’ll do Part 9
It’s 12 different sections
I’ll explain them, but first
Do you have any questions?

Anyone? Anyone?
Then I’ll move on
Please open your test books
To page 31

Now look at the first box
Please quietly read it
I’ll also be reading
Out loud if you need it

It says: “You are ready
To start your test session
Step 1: Using a pencil”
Let’s pause — are there questions?

Anyone? Anyone?
Then I’ll read more
–Yes, I know that we’ve read
This all ten times before

You did not raise your hand
That’s a test violation
I warned what would happen
In this situation

Yes, Officer Palmer?
Your help is awaited
Our test code of conduct
Has been violated

Please drop your test book
In the shredder downstairs
You’ll have to start over
Your new book’s prepared

Apologies, class
Back to what is allowed
Read Box 2 to yourself
While I read it out loud…

Testing, Day 6 – Stamina

I’m writing a poem about testing each day of testing during testing. Testing. Here’s one from today:


My stamina’s fading
I’m hitting a wall
My eyesight is blurry
My confidence: small

These tests are too taxing
It’s really a shame
(And all I’ve done so far
Is fill out my name)

Testing, Day 5: Bright

We’re back to it! After a week of testing, spring break, then parent teacher conferencing, we get…more testing! Today was Day 1 of Math. As usual, I spent it “Actively Monitoring” and covertly writing poems. I wrote for the kids about lions and dolphins. For you guys, it’s tests, tests, and tests:

These tests make the brightest minds feel not-so-bright
Which answer’s least wrong? (Instead of most right)
I can argue a good case for A, B, or D
So can I rule C out? Maybe they’re tricking me!
I could argue that too if I gave it some thought
Am I supposed to be clever? No, probably not.

Change Is…

Yesterday you said that change was ahead
But now you say change is afoot instead
But I’ve also heard you say that change is at hand
I’m taken aback, I just don’t understand
Can you please just explain it, I find it too strange
Why are parts of my body exchanging this change?

Also During Testing… (poems about unicorns, gremlins, and turkeys)

While doing my “active monitoring” of this week’s standardized tests, I wasn’t only scribbling passive-aggressive poems about testing. Before the tests began, I let the kids make requests, which I then tried to write and share with them afterwards. Here are a few of the requests.

Request: Pink unicorns

What It’s Like Being a Unicorn

What’s it like being a unicorn?
Pro: You have this awesome horn
Con: It’s heavier than you think
Pro: Your hair is soft and pink
Pro: You make wishes come true
Con: No one believes in you
Con: They think you don’t exist
Oh yeah? Then how’d I write this list???

(Child responds: “Dude, that’s so lit!”)

Request: Gremlins on a farm (kids are weird)

On the Farm

A is for animals here on this farm
B is for bunnies and also for barn
C is for chickens and D is for dogs
E is for eggs, and then F is for fox
G is for gremlins who fill me with hate
H was for hens, which the gremlins all ate
I is for irrigate — help your plants grow!
J is for jerks, ’cause those gremlins won’t go
K is for kale, L is for lima beans
M’s for the mama goat they painted green
N is for nuisances — that is the truth!
Oh…wait, excuse me — they’re back on my roof

(Child responds: “Boom!”)

Request: Moon turkeys (Yes…moon turkeys)

The Truth about the Moon Landing

The astronauts are at last admitting
Something they’d been keeping hidden
That’s right: There’s turkeys on the moon
That’s why we won’t go back there soon

They’re super-smart and unforgiving
They’ve heard of our so-called “Thanksgiving”
If we set foot on their lunar dust
They’ve warned: they’ll gobble gobble us