Keeping Positive During Testing

Testing.....  should be a 4-letter word!  I hate it!  It has become excessive.  Yet, this is the world we live in.  In my district, we give benchmark tests each nine weeks in math and ela based on our pacing guide of the state standards.  We also give a STAR test three times a year to track growth.  Finally, we will be giving the ACT Aspire in May as our state test.
Must do! Simple & effective classroom strategies to reduce testing stress and create positive classroom environment!

With the increased amount of testing has brought about a de-sensitivty to it by my kidlets. Translation-this is just another test that won't be in my weekly papers, so I don't really have to try that hard.  This makes me want to scream since I KNOW that district leaders will look at these results!  What will they think of ME?!?!

Today, was the ELA test for this nine weeks.  I bandied about ideas of what to do to get my kids to try.  Can't reward just a few-that's not right!  Can't threaten to withhold privileges--wrong again!!

Then, I put my teacher brain on, had an impulsive idea, and it just grew.

Here's how it went.

I put a post-it note on the edge of each of my kids' desks.  Once we were all settled in, I wrote GOAL on the board.  I asked my kidlets to write a sentence explaining what they think it means to meet a goal.  The sentences were AMAZING!  I wrote all of the important words on the board and told the kids to underline any words they also had on their sentences.

Next, I asked them to write actions....verbs..... what helps you meet a goal.  Again.....amazing!
Must do! Simple & effective classroom strategies to reduce testing stress and create positive classroom environment!

Then, it was my turn to talk about our test being a goal.  We have worked very hard for 9 weeks to learn so much.  We've practiced, read a lot of great books, we've been dedicated!  Now is the time to show what we learned.  Tests aren't fun though, like our activities.  But we still want to meet the goal to do well.

So, I asked them to choose a few of the actions and write them on their post-its.  When the test gets hard or you just want to just "click" any answer, use your action to help you stay on track until the end.

Then we talked about tests being measured in numbers and setting attainable goals-not perfection.  They wrote a score under the test post-it.  Your goal won't be the same as someone else-it shouldn't be.  You've made a promise to yourself-not your friend!  I'd say that we have a ways to go in talking about attainable goals, but I'm glad they didn't just want to "get by".

Must do! Simple & effective classroom strategies to reduce testing stress and create positive classroom environment!

And that is what I did to prep my kids for our test.  We will reflect on how we did once we've completed the math.

I have to say that I felt so empowered!  I empowered them to be self-motivating with a task they didn't choose.  Life is full of tasks that we didn't choose.  It is your character that gets you past these times.  I hope our little session helped them build character.

Hope this might be the thread of an idea to help get your kids motivated to do well when they don't get the immediate "gratification" that they might be accustomed to!  I'd LOVE to hear how YOU deal with  too much testing!

1 comment

  1. I met you at the blogger meet-up last weekend for a brief moment. I wish we could have chatted longer or there was a upper grades chat session to share ideas.

    I love your sticky note idea! I can't stand all the testing that we have to put our kids through. I recently moved from a different school system where I taught for 10 years. They did CFA (Common Formative Assessments) each 9 weeks for ELA and math. They did a pre/post/pre/post/quarterly! 5 tests for each subject, plus Acuity, STAR and other tests. I felt like all we did was test! Since moving to my new district and driving 1 mile vs. 45 miles I feel like I have died and went to heaven! I love this idea of using sticky notes. I started putting encouraging notes on my student's desks each morning of the tests and a piece of candy, Like...I know you are going to "roll" through this test and do your best and then put a Tootsie Roll on their desk. It made them smile and they knew I cared!

    I'm going to link your blog to mine so I can keep up with you and your blog posts!
    Take care and have a good night!
    Happy Days in 4th Grade