The Big Testby Julie Danneberg, Judy Love (Illustrator)
Mrs. Hartwell is preparing her class to take the Big Test. Knowing they have studied and are well-prepared, she helps the students practice how to sit quietly, fill in the bubbles, and follow the directions. She even instructs them on proper morning-of-the-test nutrition. As her students grow increasingly anxious about the Big Test, Mrs. Hartwell realizes she has
Mrs. Hartwell is preparing her class to take the Big Test. Knowing they have studied and are well-prepared, she helps the students practice how to sit quietly, fill in the bubbles, and follow the directions. She even instructs them on proper morning-of-the-test nutrition. As her students grow increasingly anxious about the Big Test, Mrs. Hartwell realizes she has to teach the most valuable test-taking skill of all: learning to relax!
Mrs. Hartwell is back (First Year Letters, 2003, etc.) in a gentle satire on teaching to the test.
It's a Monday at the end of a really great school year. The kids have learned a lot and had fun along the way, but it's time now for the dreaded standardized test. But first, they need to learn how to show what they know. On Monday, they practice sitting still. Tuesday's lesson is on bubble-filling, and Wednesday finds the class taking a timed practice test. Throughout, Mrs. Hartwell finds that she is writing a lot of passes to the nurse's office—the students can't take the pressure. And so on Thursday, Mrs. Hartwell tosses her lesson plans and leads her nerved-up class to the library for a little relaxation. Danneberg's tongue-in-cheek humor is definitely in evidence as she describes the rigors of getting ready for a standardized test and the maladies that arise in anxiety-ridden students. Love's ink-and-dye artwork captures the varied expressions and body language of a classroom full of students, from a finger-down-the-throat gesture of disgust to the pride on their faces at having learned so much.
Once they stop laughing at the spot-on depiction of standardized testing, teachers should take a page from Mrs. Hartwell's book.(Picture book. 6-9)
Meet the Author
Julie Danneberg is the author of several books for children, including FIRST DAY JITTERS, FIRST YEAR LETTERS, LAST DAY BLUES, COWBOY SLIM, and FAMILY REMINDERS. She lives in Denver, Colorado.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Mrs. Hartwell's Class has worked hard all school year and it has come down to the last big test. Mrs. Hartwell takes her class through the skills they will need to be successful on the test. Can they sit still and properly fill in the bubbles? Do they know what that a good breakfast is important? By the day of the practice test all of her student are anxious and nervous and have visited the school nurse and poor Mrs. Hartwell is feeling very bad for them. I am the mom of anxious test taker. The poor kid gets so nervous, he is often not capable of showing what he knows. In a public school culture where the test is the culmination of the school year, this humorous look at Mrs. Hartwell's class happens all too often and it would a terrific jumping off point to discuss with students that those big tests they dread don't have to be scary. It shows the most important part of learning, how to have fun with it. While the story is charming and quite fun, the star of the book is the illustration by Judy Love. Brightly colored in vivid detail, Mrs. Hartwell and her students practically leap off the pages. This is a wonderful class library shelf book for grades 1-3. 5 stars I received a copy of this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
With standardized testing happening in most schools around Canada and United States, there is often nervousness and insecurities surrounding these events. This is a great book for teachers to use with their students to help alleviate these feelings. In the story, Mrs. Hartwell takes a week to go over things with her students. She keeps telling them that they have learned a lot over the year and the test is a chance to show what they know. She keeps it low key and positive. When some of the students still become very anxious, she ditches her lesson plan and plans a day to help the students relax before they have to write the test the next day. The illustrations are great and very realistic. The details and colours are great and add to the story. This is a book that should be in every school library and primary classroom. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.