Wednesday, July 19, 2017

An Idea to Combat Test Anxiety

State Testing.  Just hearing those words probably brings up some type of emotion from every educator I know.  I've taught PreK through 3rd grade, and I can say I truly love every grade level.  In Texas, the state assessments begin in 3rd grade (formally).  It's called the 🌟STAAR🌟 test:  State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness.  Our 3rd graders take the reading and math STAAR test for the first time, and will continue taking the STAAR test throughout elementary school (and middle school and high school).

Here is my strategy for adding confidence to any child that is worrying.  Now, if you know me, prepare yourself....I'm about to get "mushy".....πŸ˜‰

I ask all of my students to bring in a 5x7 or smaller photo of their family that is framed the Monday before the test.  For students that don't bring one in, I use my staff photos (we always get some free) and frame them.  We each take turns sharing who is in our picture and telling a bit about our families (yes, we've already done this, but we do it again).  We talk about how worrying about something doesn't help the situation, but being brave enough to face our worries helps prepare us for our future.  We will all encounter something that creates anxiety or worries 😟.  I typically tell a story from my life about a time I was worried and it turned out okay.  (Make something up if you have to.)

Then, (and here comes the mushy), we put our pictures to our hearts πŸ’œ.  We think πŸ€” of all the things we might worry about with regards to the test.  We think about how hard we've worked all year long.  We think about how much our family loves us πŸ’‘ and believes in us.  I tell them how much I am proud of them, and how much I know they have truly learned all year.  Then, I tell them that this picture will be placed on or near their desk during the test, and every time they come upon a question that they think is hard, (or want to give up on) I want them to look at their family picture.  I want them to remember how much their family believes πŸ‘in them and knows they can do their best.  Then, we place the photos by the front door so we can see them every time we enter or leave the room for that week.  The day before the test, I set those photos near where the child will be sitting so the child can see the photo during the test.

I typically leave the photos up the rest of the year because I love having them in the classroom.  I hope your students enjoy this idea as much as mine have over the past years.  Enjoy!

Click here for a download-able letter home about the photos!

Have other ideas to calm students during testing time?  Hit me up with a reply!

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