Falls school holds rally for the mind

NEWTON FALLS – A special guest incited deafening cheers Friday during a rally in preparation for upcoming state testing.

The Newton Falls Middle School auditorium filled with cheers when Scrappy of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers appeared to give his support. Scrappy won boxes of dog bones for correctly answering questions similar to those that appear on the Ohio Achievement Assessments testing that begins next week.

The OAA is an annual state test that measures how well students have learned reading and math concepts taught in grades three through eight. Ohio Science Assessments also are given to students in grades 5 through 8.

“Ding, dong, the test is done … ding, dong, the wicked test is done,” third-graders sang in a new version of a song from the 1939 film, “The Wizard of Oz.”

In addition to singsong, students also got to watch a sumo wrestling match between their very own “good guy” tiger mascot and the “bad guy” OAA wrestler. Between rounds, the competitors were asked what they would do to prepare themselves for the OAA, to which the tiger had all the correct answers.

“We just had to make it more exciting for them … something they would think is fun,” said Title I reading teacher Linda McIntosh.

Teachers were put to the test, too, competing against one another to answer more questions in a battle of the minds.

Then students cheered them on as they raced to get dressed in school clothes, eat their breakfast without spilling it, sharpen their pencils and fill in bubbles on a test form.

Math coach Marsha Snyder said the rally really motivates the students to work together as a team in preparation of the test.

“This is just our way of bringing them together to get school pride on our results for the OAA,” she said. “We don’t get zeros in Newton Falls.”