I thought it might be helpful to dig up some old posts of mine and some clever ideas from others and compile them to help you and your students get through this testing season in a sane and hopefully enjoyable way!
1. Our Jar of "Best Thinking"
I shared this on Pinterest the other day, but wanted to make sure it got more attention since it's such a wonderful idea. I think this would be perfect for any grade 3rd and under, or for any kiddos especially nervous about a test. Michael at The Thinker Builder shares all about this idea on his blog and it's worth the read. I especially love the idea of storing testing pencils in the jar and then passing them out (since we always have to supply the pencils for the test). Find out more on his blog HERE.
2. Brain Breaks
Of course I love and adore Brain Breaks all throughout the year, but especially around testing time, they take on a special role. I choose specific breaks before the test depending on their mood that day: to get their wiggles out, to wake them up a bit (our tests are always first thing in the morning), to focus their attention and calm their mind, and so on. I have them chosen in advance because we don't have a lot of time on testing mornings and I also want to make sure that I don't pull one that energizes an already energized class, or a calming one for my half-asleep kids first thing in the morning. You can pick up my Brain Breaks set HERE.
After the test, we always love to celebrate with a Watch & Wiggle Break. Learn more about those HERE.
3. Music in the Classroom
You're probably not allowed to play music during the tests, and that's okay, but as soon as the tests are done, and usually after a Brain Break, I like to turn on our classroom Pandora station to listen to some calming guitar music while the kids ate their snacks or read or just chat with a friend. I like to incorporate music a lot in my classroom and you can read all about some of the artists I love HERE.
4. Motivational Notes
Nothing is sweeter than building up your kids confidence this time of year. Especially since third grade is often their first year for state tests, I love these encouraging notes to inject some fun into testing time. I usually will have these on their table spots and they can eat them after the testing time that day. I used the Smarties with my class HERE and boy, were they easy and simple! Love that when this time of year is so busy anyway! I prefer to do this on the first day of testing only, since we have a whole bunch of testing days and no one needs a class that hopped up on sugar for that many days ;) Find all of these great cards over at technology rocks. seriously. HERE.
5. Active Monitoring Help
This one is for you, my teacher friend! I posted this on Facebook and love all of the hilarious ways Love, Teach came up with to pass the time when you're "actively monitoring" your students. It's full of laughs and definitely worth the read. Plus, the pedometer challenge may actually help you burn some calories during this terribly boring time! Check it all out on Love, Teach HERE.
What tips and suggestions do you have for fellow teachers and their students during state tests? Share any and all of your sanity-saving advice below!