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March 13, 2018

5 Ways to Survive Standardized Testing

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

I know that I am not the only person that dreads standardized testing. My class is in the midst of PARCC testing as I write this. We just finished day five of testing today...two more days to go! I know we all need some help getting through it. Here are five ways to help you survive standardized testing.

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5 - Picture Books

I read aloud to my students everyday. I use books to introduce new concepts or review ones that need extra practice. Of course, this includes books about testing. Here are my favorites...


I am a huge fan of series books. In our class, we have been reading books starring Mrs. Hartwell and Miss Malarkey. I really think I may change my name to Miss Malarkey. I can relate to her so well! As for the Anti-Test Anxiety Society, this one is great for your little ones that worry about testing. 

These books are all great to open discussion on expectations about testing as well as worries.

4 - Tapping

This one is a little woo-hoo-ish (I just coined a new word)! Basically you tap different areas on your hand, head, and neck while repeating a calming mantra. I admit that I have been doing this myself for over a year. I recently saw a video of the benefits of teaching your students to tap in the classroom. We started doing this everyday in January. While tapping, we repeat mantras like "I am calm," "I am focused," or "I will have a great day!" For me personally, I have found myself much more calm and relaxed. My students have definitely liked tapping and remind me if I forget it during our morning meeting! I notice that my students will also start tapping when they need a positive escape during class. 

If you are interested in learning about tapping, click HERE for a link to YouTube video that I think explains tapping really well.  

3 - Brain Breaks

I am a huge fan of brain breaks on a normal day. Testing definitely increases the need to have these in the classroom. My favorite website for free brain break videos is definitely GoNoodle! We love doing the Zumba Kids videos. There are also great relaxation videos on the Flow channel. I just have to remember not to do them when students are testing below us (we are on the second floor with the library underneath our room).

2 - Changing Up Your Schedule

I definitely believe in structure for my students. They need and feel comfortable with a schedule that is consistent. Testing already throws this out the window. While we try to maintain our schedule as much as possible, I try to throw in extra recess time or include extra fun activities that still relate to standards. After one day of testing, we had an author (my former student) visit and we talked about the writing process of books. Tomorrow is Pi Day. I have tons of fun activities planned for that which will include writing and word building skills that my students need. I love these fun activities that support our classwork but give us an excuse to change things up a bit.

1 - When in Doubt, Bribe Them

This sounds really bad, but sometimes a teacher has to do what a teacher has to do!  I may have bribed students to work hard in order to get treats like goldfish (jokes on them...they had a math activity relating to Dr. Seuss) and a movie (thank you Ruby Bridges - Black/Women's History Month). Sometimes, you just have to take it easy. Testing is already stressful. Don't you deserve a little break?

How do you survive 
standardized testing?

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