Directly before administering Day 2 of NY State Common Core ELA testing, about two 2 weeks ago, I gave students a warmup sheet, which asked them to “draw an emoticon or face that shows how you are feeling about the test today.” Then it asked them to free write about it in the space below.

Below is a collection of some of the emoticons they drew. I find them entertaining in the way that they communicate some of the spirit of the middle school child, but also poignant in what they express about this yearly ritual that takes up significant space in their educational and personal lives. My school does not emphasize testing as much as many other schools I know, but standardized testing has been in my students’ lives snce third grade. In many ways, they know it better than we do…

I wish I had photographed all of them, but here is a pretty good representation of the group’s response (click the arrow on the photo below to scroll through the images):











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