As much as I love the Spring Time, I hate the fact that it’s also a reminder that state testing is right around the corner. Unfortunately, it’s not something that we can really escape! If so, I think we’d all be on that train #canIgetanAmen… What we CAN do, is make sure that we’re prepared for the BIG DAY so that it’s as stress-free as possible!
Prep Your Scripts:
Rather than wait until the morning of testing to read a lengthy set of directions you have to read verbatim, ask to take a look at it at least a day or two ahead of time. This gives you time to familiarize yourself with the script and answer any questions you might have. Testing day can be pretty nerve-wracking! Trust me, even though I’ve sat through my fair share of tests, I still get nervous every year Having to read a lengthy script doesn’t make things any easier!
You want to feel comfortable and confident reading. If you’re students see you relaxed and calm, then they’ll feel it too. I mean the last thing you want is for them to hear your voice shaking or to see you nervously flipping back and forth in the manual frantically looking for the correct testing session.
I’d also recommend using Post-it notes to flag the different sessions. Use them as tabs and label them Reading Session 1, Math Session 2, etc… Then grab a highlighter and actually highlight everything you actually need to read to the kids. Make notes on the margins if needed. If you have any questions such as how to handle student accommodations or what’s the protocol you need to follow if a student has to use the restroom in the middle of the test, now’s the time to get some answers. Make sure you write ALL your questions down AND get them answered PRIOR to testing day.
In order to give kids enough time to get comfortable with their “testing seats”, rearrange their desks at least a week or two in advance. This will give them a chance to get used to the new seating arrangement.
Perhaps they’ve never sat by a window or the computers before. Moving them ahead of time, allows them to explore that side of the room so that by the time testing rolls around, they’re familiar with it. It also gives YOU some time to figure out if that arrangement works for testing day. Be prepared to shuffle desks around more than once. Sometimes you make a move thinking it’s for the best and then quickly realize that you’ve made matters worst. If this happens, just know that it’s normal… simply try something different.
Strategically place your students in areas of the room with the least distractions. You know your students best! If you have any kiddos that sit on their knees or have a hard time sitting down, you definitely don’t want them sitting in the front row #thatwouldbetrouble. I remember one year when I had a girl that had to test standing up. Needless to say, I made sure her testing seat was in the back corner of the room so that even while standing, she couldn’t see other student’s booklets.
Coverup any posters, word walls, class work, or material that might help your students during the test. If you’re not sure if something should be covered or not, cover it just in case. I’ve heard of some people opting to open up their cabinet doors instead of actually covering what’s on them. Please, DON’T do this!!! Your kiddos are not used to seeing what’s inside your cupboards. Opening them up on testing day might distract them, especially when they’re in the middle of the test and just don’t know what to do with themselves.
Years ago I used to take everything down from my walls or cabinets. It was such a pain and I absolutely hated it! My class looked so bare and uninviting… I don’t do that anymore. I’ve since learned not to take things down, but rather cover them up with motivational posters or inspiring words created by none other that MY KIDDOS THEMSELVES!!!! Not only will it give your students a sense of ownership, but imagine one of your nervous nelly’s looking up in the middle of the test all anxious and worried. All of a sudden they catch a glimpse of another student’s poster with the words “You Got This!” written on it… Can you say divine intervention
Plan, Plan, Plan:
Plan for snacks, motivational letters, or words of wisdom PRIOR to the morning of testing… Don’t wait for the day before or the morning of and think you’re gonna make magic happen. It doesn’t work that way! Although it’d be nice if it did, LOL…
It’s very easy to forget to plan something ahead of time since this time of year we are simply drained! We are anxious and honestly just dying for the test to be over with! Many times we’re so caught up with crunch time that before we realize it, test day has snuck up on is and we’ve got absolutely nothing planned #dontletthishappentoyou
Keep in mind that you don’t need to plan anything extravagant! It can be as simple as giving your students a testing tips bookmarker the day before the test. Or you might want to print up a few words of inspiration and have the kids color them in. Then post them around the classroom. I’ve also used these in the past. If you have any anxious kiddos you might want to use these Stop.Breathe.Go bookmarkers instead. They’re great for teaching your kiddos how to relax and calm down when their feeling nervous.
If you really want to go all out, you might want to have your students’ parents and family members personalize a letter for each day of testing. I’m going to be 100% honest with you… this does take quite a bit of planning and prepping ahead of time. BUT… That’s a capital B-U-T, I can tell you that every year I’ve done this, I’ve had parents and kids tell me how much they LOVED writing and receiving these motivational letters. I’ve even had students come back and see me a few years later who have asked if I still continue to do this.
What To Wear:
Plan what you’re going to wear on the day of testing ahead of time. I know you’re probably asking yourself what kind of a tip is that, but trust me this is gold! I mean you don’t want to wear anything that might make noise or distract your students. For example, if you’re like me and love wearing bangles, testing day is NOT the day to show off all your arm candy. Instead, make sure all your accessories are of the silent kind!
Next, choose your shoes carefully. You’re not only going for comfort but you’re also looking for quiet. You want shoes that can go into stealth mode and that don’t sound as if you have a T-Rex marching around your classroom. If you must wear your heels, simply bring a pair of flip flops to change into while the test is going on. Then switch back before leaving the class.
I hope you’ve found these tips to be pretty simple and helpful! Best of luck for your kiddos
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