The holiday season may be far behind us, but testing season has arrived. A necessary evil? Maaaaaybe! But rather than debate the issue, let’s admit that love it or hate it, testing time is here and isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.
It’s all good, though…your students are prepared! You’ve differentiated instruction, implemented technology, created content area word walls, allowed for inquiry and project-based instruction, used graphic organizers, anchor charts, stood on your head (ha-ha) and tons more. You’ve exposed your girls & boys to a variety of testing formats and terminology, like ‘fill-in-the-blank’, ‘true or false’, ‘word bank’, and so on. You’ve taught them to think carefully about what they’re being asked to do; for example, am I writing a paragraph or clicking on the correct answer?
You’ve done your part, your kids are ready…so, bring it on. Right?
For many of your students, all of that is enough. But for others, the anxiety that comes with test taking can be overwhelming. How can you help lower student stress during testing time? Here are a few simple, easy to implement ideas:
Encourage Positive Self-Talk
Before testing begins, have your students write inspirational quotes and positive messages to themselves and to one another. A little bit of “I can do hard things” and “We’ve got this” posted around the classroom can go a long way!
Recall Past Triumphs
Talk with your students one on one or even as a large group about times that they’ve overcome tricky circumstances. Recalling situations when they’ve been victorious during life’s challenges in the past will remind them that this test has nothing on them!
Meet Kids’ Needs
Triple check which of your students have IEPs or 504 plans on file so that you and your colleagues are prepared in advance to make worthwhile and necessary accommodations. Additionally, do you know of a child who consistently comes to school without having breakfast? Or is always cold? Or blows their nose incessantly? Have those granola bars, extra sweaters and mini tissue packets out and ready. Your students will be less anxious knowing that their basic needs will be easily met!
No matter what, remind your students that while the test that they are about to tackle is important and you want them to do their very best, test scores do not define them.
And, hey, teacher…that applies to you, too!
Want to find out how GrapeSEED is purposefully designed to build confidence and lower student anxiety by being mindful of the affective filter?