Sunday, February 23, 2014

Keeping Students Happy During Testing Times

This week is filled with testing for my kids.  We have two more pieces of assessment and then we are done...for a little bit any way.  We are also beginning test prep twice a week to get ready for state exams in April, so I want to try and give my students as many breaks as possible during the day to keep them happy.  Here are a few things I've been trying to incorporate:

1.) Brain Breaks - we are using Whole Brain Teaching in our classroom, so when the students win for the day, their reward is a quick brain break.  We've done "skiing," "swimming," "yoga" - anything to get them out of their seats and moving.  For skiing, students stand and then sink into a chair pose, elbows bent and fists at the shoulders.  Students jump from side to side, as though they are skiing downhill.  For yoga, we practice warrior II and warrior III.

2.) Food!  We are allowed to give out treats (are we the only ones left???) and a handful of Jolly Ranchers can be a real motivator when we have to break out the test prep booklets.  I also keep small bags of goldfish in the classroom for the same purpose.   If you are not allowed to give out food, try smelly stickers!  Even the big kids love smelly stickers.  My kids love when I mark their work with Mr. Sketch markers.  It's so funny to see them pick up their books to smell the marker!

3.) "Fun" Practice  - anything that involves coloring feels like less work.  I love Kristine Nannini's Math Centers because they all have color by number practice.  I also found this great page on TpT that they ASKED to take home for homework.  What???  Link: Multiplying Decimals Freebie.
4.) New "toys"  - I bought each of my kiddos a smencil colored pencil (because I didn't read closely and thought I was buying pencils.  D'oh!) to use in their test prep books.  These are ONLY for underlining evidence or for checking their work.  I also plan to make these little answer sticks.  What a great idea to improve student participation!
Credit - this is from One Extra Degree
Do you have great ideas for keeping kids happy during the march towards testing?  Please share!

And check out my FB page for a Facebook Freebie!  I have a complete center for fractions to celebrate St. Patrick's Day!


  1. Love these ideas! We have ESL testing coming up next week and I will definitely keep these in mind.


  2. These are great ideas. Thanks for sharing. In Room 202 we use a bag of color coded chips for answering multiple choice items. The kids keep the bag in their pencil case and they secretly pull out the correct answer and hold it in their palm until I ask for a reveal. I scan to see what color each child is holding up and proceed from there. I just wanted to let you know I nominated your blog for a Liebster Award. You can see the nomination HERE