State testing season is hard. There’s no other way to put it. Teachers are stressed, tiny humans are anxious, and everyone is exhausted. I know how difficult it is to stay motivated as the teacher and how difficult it is to try to keep your students spirits up during this tough time. That’s why I wanted to share five testing motivation tips with you that will encourage your tiny humans to do their best.
1.) Letter from the Teacher
I borrowed this idea from my best friend, Katie, a few years ago and I’ve been doing it ever since! A few weeks before the first day of testing, I write each tiny human a little note to let them know that I’m proud of them and to remind them that they are more than their test score. On the back of the envelope, I write something about waiting until the night before the first day of testing to open their card. It’s a super simple way to ease some of their test anxiety and to use up all the note cards that I “just have to have” when I go to Target.
You know that feeling you get when you check the mailbox and you have an unexpected card from a loved one? Or you get to school in the morning and a co-worker has left something special on your desk? It’s a good feeling, isn’t it? That’s how my tiny humans feel when they’re surprised on test day with a card from someone they love. When I send home the testing schedule, I also attach a note card and envelope. In the letter with the schedule, I include a paragraph asking the grown-up to write a note to their tiny human and return it to school. I hold on to the notes until the first day of testing then pass them out before we start. The tiny humans are always surprised and I love seeing the look on their faces. You can click here to grab my customizable family letter to share with your tiny humans grown-up’s!
I share this idea every year and the number one question that I receive is about kids whose grown-up doesn’t return the card. This is where I enlist the help of my principal and other teachers in our building. They’re always more than willing to write a note to the tiny humans who don’t have a card for test day. Honestly, I’ve only had to do this once. Even in years where I’ve struggled with parent participation/support, they’ve always returned the card. I know that’s not the case in every classroom at every school so don’t be afraid to seek out other people in your building!
3.) Buddy Classroom
Partner up with one of the kindergarten, first grade, or second grade classes in your school. The younger tiny humans admire the older tiny humans and love cheering them on. Have the younger class write notes, draw pictures, or put together little treats to give to the older class on test day.
4.) Read a Book
There’s always a huge push to teach test taking strategies to tiny humans in the weeks before state testing. I don’t think that’s a bad thing but I do think there is also a place for teaching coping strategies for test anxiety. As humans, we’re naturally more motivated to do something when we’re feeling less anxious about it. Help ease some of that stress for your tiny humans by sharing some picture books with them. I’ve written an entire blog post about some of my favorite test anxiety picture books that you can check out here.
5.) Test Day Treats
Who doesn’t love a surprise treat? I like to leave a little something for my tiny humans on their desk on the morning of each test day. I get things like bubble gum, Teddy Grahams, mints, and Goldfish and attach these super simple tags. It’s a super simple way for me to brighten their morning and the tiny humans love it. If you’re looking for a quick way to treat your tiny humans, I have thirty-three different ready to print tags available in my store that you can attach to snacks and other non-edible treats. You can check them out here.
Hopefully these tips will help your tiny humans stay motivated to do their best and remember that they are WAY more than their test score. And as a friendly reminder, you’re more than their test score too.