Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Works For Me Wednesday: Test Anxiety

This week is our big Florida testing. I teach third grade and there is mandatory retention for third graders who do not pass the reading portion of the test. I am NOT here to debate the rights and wrongs of testing though!

Some of my students each year have been terrified by overanxious parents display a bit of testing anxiety. My first year teaching a little girl put her head down and cried as soon as I put a practice test on her desk.

I've come up with an activity that works well for most of my high anxiety students. I tell the class that there is no room in their heads for worry. We need all that room in our heads for now we need to get our worries out.

I give each student a sheet of paper with "FCAT" written in the middle of the page and then have the students write how they feel about the test. I've had them write things like "It makes me feel like I am having a heart attack." "It stinks." "I hate it." "STRESS!!!" Some have true worries, some are just being dramatic. Either way, they usually fill the paper!

After we've gotten out our worries/thoughts/concerns, we rip up the papers. They LOVE doing this. We talk about how we are getting rid of the worry space so that we have more room for thinking space.

And what to do with the paper? That is the best part. All of that torn paper looks surprisingly like confetti. It stays neatly in a bag stored someplace safe because we use the "worry confetti" to celebrate after we've taken the test.

So there you have Works for Me! For more WFMW tips, visit We Are That Family!


Kelly said...

that's an awesome idea!! so creative, I love it!

Heather said...

That is a great tip! I had several students that I could have used this with when I taught.

Rosemary said...

What great way to teach them about stress management! Maybe they will take that with them further in life!

JanMary said...

Great idea - this would work well with my eldest daughter who is a wee worrier! (like her mum!!)

Have not been here in a while, but hope you can join me for my St Patrick's Day blogging carnival.

MN Mom said...

Clever! I like it. The kids will all do well after the laughter and the ripping of paper!

Rona's Home Page said...

Our teenager has some test anxiety issues. We found that if he works with his tutor a few days before he seems much calmer.
Thanks for sharing your WFMW tip.

Mel @ A Box of Chocolates said...

First of all I just have to tell you that I love the new name and your background is too cute.

Next, your worry confetti idea is awesome and I think I'm going to steal it for next year. I always read the book "The Worry Stone" and give the kids their won stone. I think alot of the worry comes from parents or teachers they see worried. I don't get too stressed about the test and my kids don't seem to usually be either. I tell them if we all did our jobs all year, me teaching and them learning, then we're ready to rock the test. Good luck with the rest of testing!!