After the Test: Activities for Worn-Out Afternoons

Finish the day strong with these ideas for the post-testing let down, while still keeping the focus on academics.

By Eliana Osborn


Students sitting at computers

Fresh minds, focused attention, full bellies—these morning perks make the first part of the day ideal for standardized test taking. But after a few hours of diligence, kids of all ages need a change of pace. To keep the momentum going for several days of testing, as is the norm these days, try out some of these activities for a fun afternoon without the stress of filling in bubbles. Of course, modify for different ages or needs. Hopefully this list will get your own creative juices flowing.

Test the Teacher

It’s only fair to get a little payback after the rigorous testing we put our students through. Give small groups a dictionary and let them try to stump you. Or, let them find facts from books you’ve read as a class, and put together a true/false quiz for you. This is a great way to turn the tables and get your learners back into an active role. Besides, they won’t even notice that they’re reviewing content as they come up with their questions. Sounds like a win-win situation for sure!

Invent a Superhero

Whether you are working with first graders or high schoolers, I highly recommend Bob McLeod’s picture book SuperHero ABC (HarperCollins, 2006). McLeod creates his own superheroes without relying on Marvel or DC Comics; the alliterative crusaders are super fun. Read together—yes, even for big kids—before setting down to the task at hand. As a class, create your own superhero. He’ll need a backstory explaining how he got his powers, and what are those powers? Anything from invisibility to amazing facility with fractions would suffice. Then comes designing a costume—no one can get behind a superhero unless he looks the part. This is an activity that includes some writing, some art, and even some laughter. This is the recipe for a perfect project that might get you through a whole week of test mornings.

Reinvent a Song

You know how we sing the wrong words to songs we hear on the radio, filling in lyrics that make sense at the moment? Take this natural tendency a step further by entirely reworking a song. You can go traditional, like “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” or let your students choose a current song. Even if it isn’t a song you are familiar with, buying it for endless repeat on your classroom computer will only run you ninety-nine cents.

Once you’ve got a song, the next step is to try out different word combinations that will fit for the first line or chorus. This will set the stage for what the new song will be about. This is an activity best done in pairs or small groups so that pupils can bounce ideas off each other. Be prepared for some noise and a little frustration, but I guarantee you’ll be impressed with their ingenuity. If students don’t want to sing to present, no problem—a rap or spoken lyrics will work out fine since you’ve all got the original music stuck in your heads.

More Post-Test Ideas from Lesson Planet

A Closer Look at Superheroes

Make your pupils' day by letting them show their smarts about their favorite comic book stars. Look at characterization, backstory, and other literary elements in a way to engage even your most reluctant learner.

What’s in a Dictionary?

Go beyond definitions as you explore the different parts of word entries. Great for getting comfortable with these giant reference books and making them less daunting.

Creative Writing

Turn any short story writing into an adventure with these technology-rich ideas. More than just plot development, learners can figure out what drives characters and even have some fun along the way.