What do you do to soothe test anxiety?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Lynn M., Mar 24, 2010.

  1. Lynn M.

    Lynn M. Rookie

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    Mar 24, 2010

    We are gearing up to take our state assessment in a few weeks. I have a few students who get very nervous. I've heard of using peppermint scented air fresheners. Any other ideas?
     
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  3. kobesmom

    kobesmom Rookie

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    Mar 24, 2010

    I bring in a few bottles of smart water and pour my kids each a small dixie cup the morning of the test and tell them that the electrolytes will activate their brains. Also, they love to hear about my puppy so I tell them that I took home their test pencils and my puppy licked them for good luck. Some kids even swore there was still slime on them :)
     
  4. kobesmom

    kobesmom Rookie

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    Mar 24, 2010

    Also, on the day before the tests we write down all of our worries on paper.. and for dramatic effect we crinkle them up and put them in a plastic bag that I tape up.. and stick inside another plastic bag.. and then we throw them in the garbage and talk about how we're safe from our worries. Cheesy but I have a sweet group this year that likes the cheese.
     
  5. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Mar 24, 2010

    Cheese works, believe me - irrespective of age.

    I give out nice comfy pencil grips, and I remind people of the first two rules of test taking:

    1. Don't panic.
    2. Don't forget to breathe.

    It makes sense to remind people that feeling jittery before the test begins is perfectly normal: it's exactly the same sort of pre-performance sizzle-in-the-veins that highly skilled athletes feel before their events, and in fact it's a sign that one's body is gearing up for what's ahead.
     
  6. Leatherette

    Leatherette Comrade

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    Mar 24, 2010

    I know teachers who give funny pencils to all of the kids and use a "That was easy!" button at various times of the day (from Staples?).

    I am a special ed teacher, so I will have small groups taking the test with me, and we use all kinds of stress reducing tools during breaks: bouncing on exercise balls, body sox, fiddle toys, etc.

    Gum during the test helps....and peppermints - AKA "Thinking Mints"
     
  7. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Mar 25, 2010

    Breathing in and out.

    Although the best thing that worked for me was testing in a separate room away from everyone else away from the distraction of other people finishing first.
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Mar 25, 2010

    Admittedly not a technique available to most kids.

    I've been known to tell my high school kids something along the lines of this:

    Relax. It's not a biopsy or a pregnancy test or an AIDS test, or even a road test. (Hey, they're teenagers; it's important to them!) It's a math test. You've done your work, you know your stuff, and you'll do fine. And even if you don't, life will go on.
     
  9. MsDeb

    MsDeb Comrade

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    Mar 25, 2010

    I used lavender scented plug-in air fresheners - something new I tried this year. I always give out new sparkly pencils and peppermint life savers. We also started each test day singing our "theme song" (gotta keep reading). They all seemed happy & relaxed and worked hard.
     
  10. goopp

    goopp Devotee

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    I always tell my kids that I've taught them everything that is on the test, so they should be fine. They don't seem to stress as much if they know that they've learned everything on the test (whether they remember it or not). I also give them peppermints to suck on during the test. I tell them that peppermint helps them think better. It seems to make them relax.
     
  11. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    I have had my class bring in a small token or stuffed animal (yes, even in 5th grade!) that they can touch or squeeze when they get nervous. It helps! One year I knit while my class tested. (seriously). They said the clink of the needles was calming.:)
    (I had a very close group that year-felt more like a mom than a teacher!)
     
  12. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Not available to most, but it would be best in an ideal world :p

    From what I remember when I was in self-contained, the teacher would have us calm down by having us chew gum and she'd tell us that it would help get our brains working.
     
  13. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Comfort items, yes indeed.
     
  14. dannyboy

    dannyboy Companion

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    Mar 27, 2010

    Remember, that most of the anxiety comes from teachers running around with their heads chopped off. If you are relaxed that will help a great deal and verbalize that you are just going to do your best getting things ready for them and that all they need to do is their best...it isn't life or death for them (just for you).
     
  15. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    Mar 27, 2010



    But I've failed every pregnancy test I've ever taken.
     
  16. Toak

    Toak Cohort

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    Mar 27, 2010

    A peppermint air freshener would be a good way to guarantee that I'd fail the test - I'd be too busy trying to plug my nose and block out the scent to bother with answering the questions.

    Playing music during the test has also caused some good students to bomb them badly in one of the districts I was in. The kids couldn't handle testing with the background music going on - one was a gifted child too.Think it took the admins two years to realize that playing Beethoven over the PA system during the test did not benefit everyone

    Remind them of why they should be confident and explain that some questions are purposely too difficult so they don't freeze up when they come to one they can't do
     
  17. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I'm kinda hoping it's a non-issue for the high school kids I teach.
     
  18. ginac

    ginac Rookie

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    Mar 28, 2010

    quick exercises

    Research has discoverd a little fast movement before test taking helps. After they are finished have them take a few little slow breaths in and out. The book I mentioned in another post, "Fun Fitness Training For Kids" has some great quick activities for the kids to do. But, even to have them run to the fence and back without touching anyone can help. But I always do a little slow breathing after the movement.
     
  19. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Mar 28, 2010

    I've used Brain Gym or even yoga before tests.
     
  20. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

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    Mar 28, 2010

    I think chewing gum or telling the children to do there best you will still appreciate them for who they are,not what their test score is might help. A teddy bear or a favorite object to hold sounds interesting.taking deep breaths might relax them. Of course,a brain transplant for the politicians who have made these test scores the end all in education might solve the problem the best.
     
  21. Momzoid

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    Mar 28, 2010

    My second graders take the tests tomorrow too. I think I will play "Gotta Keep Reading" too before we start. They love it! We hold up our AR books and move to the music. Now I have to go and get the mints and pencil grips.:D
     
  22. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Mar 28, 2010

    My kids were always so excited about playing games in-between test sections that they loved testing week! We played silent speedball, silent Simon Says, went outside and blew bubbles or played a simple golf game, etc. Fun, fun, fun. When I had 3rd graders, we also made each afternoon a celebration when we were done testing - ice cream pops, bingo with Smarties, no shoes, other educational games that we usually didn't have time for......
     

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