We all remember testing season right?

I certainly do. Right around April, you start to realize that the standardized tests, finals, and readiness exams you've been hearing about all year are actual real things that are actually going to happen.

All the pressure starts to bear down on your shoulders like so many textbooks in your backpack.


Plus, remember how hard it was just to pick a backpack? Photo by Denis Charlet/AFP/Getty Images.

If I fail this test, will I fail the class? If I fail the class, will I fail fifth grade? If I fail fifth grade, am I even allowed to be a functioning member of society? Will they just throw me in jail and I'll have to live out the rest of my life eating oatmeal and lifting weights? I guess I could get used to oatmeal, but I thought I would do great things with my life!

HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN TO ME?

Looking back, it might seem silly, but for kids going through it, the pressure is still very real. And adults are starting to listen.

Chandni Langford, who teaches fifth grade at Evergreen Avenue Elementary School in New Jersey, had a pretty cool idea to help ease the pressure.

Recently, she helped her students mentally prepare for a test by writing personalized messages on each of their desks. Messages of encouragement, inspiration, and motivation that, along with two munchkins from Dunkin' Donuts, helped all 19 of them feel a lot better about the exam they were about to take.

Image courtesy of Woodbury City Public Schools.

"They were excited. I think it eased their nerves a bit," Langford told the Huffington Post. "Some of them wanted to keep them on their desks forever."

Image courtesy of Woodbury City Public Schools.

This teacher knows that a little act of encouragement can be as important as any lesson.

“When the kids come [to school] they need to know that even though they’re away from their families at home, there are people here that love and care for them and hope the best for them. And truly, truly believe in them.”

Image courtesy of Woodbury City Public Schools.

Some are fighting back against standardized testing as an institution. Even encouraging their kids to opt out of high-pressure tests.

Historian Diane Ravitch recently created an Opt Out 2016 campaign, arguing that standardized testing provides no valuable information about a student's abilities and are often an unfair tool to evaluate teachers. There are also opinion pieces galore saying that standardized tests are outdated, unfair to students and teachers, and take up too much time in the classroom.

Regardless of your thoughts on the institution of testing, the pressure remains for kids everywhere.

The last thing a kid needs is to think that one test is going to make or break them. If you have a kid who's getting ready for a big test, consider taking a moment to tell them that no matter what happens, they're capable of success. That pass or fail, you believe in them.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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