Music video pumps up Woods Elementary students for testing

Featured photo by Valerie Shelton – Woods Elementary students watch their teachers act as superheroes and villains in a video set to Fallout Boy’s “Uma Thurman.” The video is meant to get the students ready for testing this month.

By Valerie Shelton, Editor

Students at Woods Elementary School can pass this test and they don’t need a miracle (need a miracle, whoa oh!). That is the message of the school’s latest YouTube video, a motivational parody of Fallout Boy’s “Uma Thurman.”

The four-minute video, filmed by fourth grade teacher Michael Williamson and choreographed by first grade teacher Megan King, features superheroes defending Woods Elementary students in a battle against “testing villains.” In it, teachers and staff at Woods Elementary portray the testing superheroes—relaxed, healthy breakfast, trying hard, take your time and rested—and the villains—stressed, guessing, rushing and no sleep. The villains do their best to try and keep students from being successful on the state exams, while the superheroes fight back and eventually win out, allowing the students to do there best.

Williamson said he and King got the idea to start making videos for testing last year.

“Last year was the first year we took the new state test and schools were downplaying it trying not to make a big deal out of things so we ended up not having a rally like we’ve done in the past so we decided that we wanted to do a music testing video to pump the kids up,” Williamson said. “We had a lot of success with that one and it was well received by our students so we went ahead and did another video for back-to-school and now that we are doing testing again, we figured we might as well make another one.”

Together, Williamson and King picked the song and King rewrote the lyrics to focus on testing and then decided on chorography for the video.

King said this year’s video differs from last year’s in that it has a plot.

“Before we never did a storyline so for this one, I watched some other music videos and listened to how they were more about encouraging students to do their best and I really wanted to encourage students to take their time, eat a healthy breakfast, and do their best and I thought, what do we need for that? Well, we need the villains and we need the superheroes so I randomly thought about that and came up with the lyrics,” King said. “Last year, we went off of the Taylor Swift’s music video and how she did all the different dancing scenes. We called ours “Ace this Test” and she had the hip-hop scene and the ballet scene in “Shake it Off” so I just mimicked that, but with school, so we had the sports scene, then the band scene and then we had the teacher’s scene. I mimicked that music video but “Uma Thurman” didn’t have a good music video to mimic so we decided to do a storyline.”

King and Williamson said it’s all in an effort to get kids ready for the test and alleviate the stress associated with test taking.

“We did it just to get the kids excited so they don’t shy away from the test because of nerves and stress,” King said. “We want to turn it into a positive and let them know you know this and you’ve got this.”

Students in third through sixth grade will be taking the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, or CAASPP, exam this month, and will best tested in the areas of English language arts and math.

To kick-off testing, Woods Elementary students were shown the catchy testing video on Friday, April 29. Teachers will continue to show the video once a week or so during testing to keep students encouraged.

To view the video, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwPbLpssMOE