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. In three weeks, our fifth and fourth graders will take their first round of STAAR testing for this year.
When I was in the classroom as a teacher, I asked all of my students to bring in a 5x7 or smaller photo of their family that was framed the Monday before the test. For students that didn't bring one in, I used my staff photos (we always get some free) and framed them.
I would get the kids into a circle, and we would each take turns sharing who was in our picture and shared a bit about our families. We talked about worrying and that it was something that didn't help the situation, but being brave enough to face our worries helped prepare us for our future. We either had or would encounter something that creates anxiety or worries 😟 in our lives. I typically told a story from my life - a time I was worried and it turned out okay. (Make something up if you have to.)
Then, (and here comes the mushy), we would put our pictures to our hearts 💜. We would think 🤔 of all the things we might worry about with regards to the test. We thought about how hard we've worked all year long. We thought about how much our family loves us 💑 and believes in us. I told them how proud of them I was, and how much I knew they had truly learned all year. Then, I told them that this picture would be placed on or near their desk during the test, and every time they came upon a question that they thought was hard, (or wanted to give up on) I wanted them to look at their family picture. I wanted them to remember how much their family believes 👍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 would be sitting so the child can see the photo during the test.
I typically left the photos up the rest of the year because I loved 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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