Sunday, April 13, 2014

Mr E the Motivator and Testing Survival Tips

Next week is a big week at my school and throughout much of Georgia as well. It is a week of standardized tests which reveal how much students have learned throughout the year. For some grade levels the final test score plays a big factor in whether or not the student passes to the next grade. Students of course stress over tests. I remember one year as I was sorting out the math scratch paper from the test booklets for some second graders, I ran across one piece that had this written on the page; "Dear God, Help me do good on this test".

This year our first graders came up with a way to help the older students prepare for testing while learning about economy at the same time.  First Grade classrooms became factories where they created Testing Survival Kits.  The kits included a piece of candy, a pencil, a sticker and some testing tips.  The kits were then sold for fifty cents and all the money was donated to Relay for Life.  The students earned over two hundred dollars to contribute to a good cause!

There are some great motivational videos available to ease the tension before testing too.  Here is a good one:

More tips for Anxious Students

Here are some things I often suggest:
Learn relaxation breathing.  Teaching a child to slow down their breathing and repeat a calming word such as "relax" can help them regain a feeling of control and focus. 
Practice positive self-talk.  This doesn't just mean unrealistic thinking but rather arguing with those negative thoughts that we often torment ourselves with.  Rather than thinking, "This is too hard.  I can't do it."  Argue back with, "I studied and learned the material.  I'm doing my best."
Write it down.  Negative thoughts often become repetitive.  Writing them down and literally throwing them away, can help a child to break the cycle and begin fresh with a more positive spin.
Create a ritual.  It can be something as simple as a special "power breakfast for testing" or wearing a colorful shirt to remind her to stay focused. 
Finally it helps to keep it all in perspective.  It is after all just a test. 

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