Tips & Tricks

Fun Games: Good for Relieving Testing Anxiety

In Florida, 3rd grade testing is a BIG DEAL. You see for my poor 3rd graders, their performance determines whether or not they have to repeat the year.  That’s a lot of pressure to put on an 8-9 year old. No wonder the thought of the BIG TEST leaves them with a pit in the bottom of their stomachs.

That’s why this year I’ve decided to carve out time before the BIG DAY to have some testing fun! I started out the same way I do every year… by reading  The Big Test by Julie Danneberg. She’s also the author of First Day Jitters.  As usual my students LOVED it!

This book is all about a teacher named Mrs. Hartwell who prepares her class for the Big Test by going over a few important test taking strategies. Our very own students can relate to this…

The best part of this book though is the surprise ending when her students anxiously enter the library all frazzled about having to take the BIG TEST… however instead of being greeted by a scary testing monster they enter into a room-full of silly tests such as a taste test and a driver’s test!!!!

Doesn’t that look like fun?

I loved this idea so much that I decided to create my own version of Mrs. Hartwell’s Big Test. The games below are a sample from my Test Prep: Bundle of Fun Unit which can be found here.

After reading the story and discussing with my students how they could relate to the children in the book, I let them know that it was time for us to take our very own Big Test. I proceeded to gather some testing supplies…

As my kiddos began to notice some of the items in the testing basket, their worried little looks began to disappear. They knew that something was up! We spent the next hour or so T-E-S-T-I-N-G…

First we tested our bubbling skills…




… and learned that many of us have some “mad” bubbling skills. Did you see how they managed to stay INSIDE those bubbles without being able to see! The only help they had was the directions their partner was giving them such as “go left, no a little bit more to the right… yea right there, bubble!”

Next up… I-SPY the Big Test Version…

Each team had 3 minutes to locate as many items as possible on their I Spy sheets. Check out the GREAT teamwork that’s happening…

Another one of our favorite “Tests” was called Follow the Reader… This game tested if we were careful readers and if we could follow directions correctly…

The Reader’s job was to read a series of tasks to their partner. The Follower had to listen carefully and follow the directions such as “place 3 red M&M’s inside of the circle”… Some of the groups had to reread the last task carefully because they incorrectly assumed that the last M&M belonged in the empty shape {Which it did Not!} Great opportunity to remind your students NOT to assume ANYTHING, but to read directions carefully!

We ended our testing session with a game of Pin the Passing Score on the Big Test where everyone was given a passing score medal, blindfolded, and spun around a few times. They I gently guided them in the direction of “The Big Test” sign taped to the board. As you can see below, our Big Test is covered in awards… Woo Hoo… way to go 3rd graders!!!!

Don’t you wish ALL tests were this much fun?
It did feel GREAT to take a much needed break from all the practice tests and strategy sessions we’ve been dealing with lately. My kiddos and I left that day feeling reenergized! Now it’s your turn to share… I’d love to hear what YOU do in your class to keep your kids calm about the Big Test.
Click the picture to see more…

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  • Reply
    It All Started with Flubber
    July 17, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    Hi, Melissa – I love all of the test prep ideas from this post and the one on iTeach Third! Very helpful for our little test-takers! We love your blog and enjoyed meeting you are #TpTOrlando16! Drop by and visit our blog, too –

    Thanks – happy summer!

  • Reply
    Ludo Star Mod APK Android
    March 27, 2018 at 11:05 am

    This book though is the surprise ending Thanks for sharing dear.

    • Reply
      April 5, 2018 at 8:35 am

      Glad you enjoyed it! My kids love it as well :0)

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