I don’t know about you but I feel as though we are constantly testing kids to measure their understanding. I often worry we are burning them out! With exit tickets, tests, quizzes, and so much more happening day in and day out I can feel a bit of a groan of exhaustion when I mention state testing.
Not only does it come with weeks of preparation and review, it is also high stakes. Some parents really take it seriously and it can feel as though the pressure is on. In some districts, teachers are getting paid based on student performance which can only increase the stress behind it all even more. So how do we encourage and motivate them when the stakes are high? How do we provide genuine support that will allow them to be and feel their best?
How I Encourage My Kiddos During State Testing:
For starters, I want to be sure that my students walk in the door and feel loved, safe, and supported. To do this, I kick off each day with a morning message that inspires them and lifts them up! It is my Super Bowl rap throwback, mix it up, go-to jam, feel good, kick-off if you will! The kids LOVE these Morning Messages!
Next, I send home a note to parents (a few weeks before testing) that asks for donations to our “I Rock” table and asks them to write a letter of encouragement to their child. I give kiddos the letter of encouragement on the first day of testing. Whatever is not provided, I fill in the gap myself with a run to the dollar store! (My favorite place to shop!)
I am sure to hype this up because only 4-5 kids can be chosen per day to go to the table and pick out something for going “above and beyond.” Note that everyone gets to the table by week’s end! When I pick kids to come to the table, I am sure to be careful in my language. I don’t focus on the score but rather the effort. For example, “I admired your deep focus today! You double checked all of your answers before turning it in. This is how I know you did your best work!” Kids hear this and realize that it isn’t about getting it right or being fast but about emulating positive test traits. The next day comes and you can bet they are even more focused than the day before!
I love this because it takes the focus off what they are doing and puts it on why they are doing it: to show what they have learned. I love making it a celebration of their incredible efforts and I love taking the pressure off to perform perfectly. Honestly, I am certain this yields even greater results!!
Let’s build our kids up and support them as they work hard to show us what they have learned!!
DM me on Instagram @thatteachingspark or tag me to show how you hype your kids up for the big test!