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.