The reality of high-stakes testing makes it critical that children "show what they know" on standardized tests. At the same time, we know that 80% of children experience test anxiety, diminishing their ability to do so. My challenge: to teach students the test-taking strategies that lead to success.
I am the school counselor at a public, suburban elementary school.
My students are a diverse group culturally and economically. They work hard and strive to do their best academically and behaviorally. One of the greatest challenges for my students is to overcome the anxiety they feel around testing, particularly state-mandated achievement tests for students in grades 1-5 that consume the better part of two weeks in April. For some, perfectionism drives their anxiety. For others, their academic struggles diminish their confidence and increase their fear of failure. Regardless of its source, this anxiety can diminish my student's recall and ability to problem solve. As a school counselor, my goal is to help my students master the test-taking strategies that will allow them to perform well on standardized tests so that these tests accurately reflect their abilities. Most students can master these strategies in classroom guidance; while some need reinforcement in small-group counseling.
These materials will be used in whole-class instruction about test-taking strategies and in small-group counseling for students needing additional assistance with stress-management tools. In lessons on test-taking skills, I use the acronym "STARS" to organize the strategy categories of: Study skills; Time management; Assessing answers; Relaxation strategies; and Self-care. Because test anxiety is a large concern for my students, over 1/5th of the presented strategies focus on the R: Relaxation. After my test-taking lesson, each student receives a STARS pencil as a reminder to practice the strategies we've discussed. I am intentional in my pencil selection; I don't use pencils with phrases about "Doing Your Best" as those phrases only heighten the anxiety felt by my students. The remaining materials will be used in small groups to further stress-management skill building. The pencil-top erasers frame the discussion on mistakes; stress balls and Slinkies are used as relaxation tools.
High-stakes achievement tests are here to stay.
The results of these tests impact individual students, teachers, and schools. As students gain the relaxation and other test-taking strategies that allow them to truly "show what they know," these tests will become a truer reflection of their academic abilities. Because students take standardized tests throughout their school careers, "reaching for the stars" has long-term implications for my students' future educational and economic opportunities.Read More
|Mad About Stars Pencils • Pencils and More||$25.25||4||$101.00|
|Mad About Stars Pencil Toppers • Pencils and More||$21.75||4||$87.00|
|Cosmic Colors Pencils • Pencils and More||$27.25||2||$54.50|
|Star Spectra Pencils • Pencils and More||$26.50||2||$53.00|
|Smiley Stars Pencils • Pencils and More||$25.25||2||$50.50|
|Star Stress Toy • Office Playground||$0.99||50||$49.50|
|Stardust Pencils • Pencils and More||$24.50||2||$49.00|
|Stars Galore Pencils • Pencils and More||$23.50||2||$47.00|
|Slinky Original - 2.75 inch, metal • Office Playground||$4.99||10||$49.90|
|The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook for Kids: Help for Children to Cope with Stress, Anxiety, and Transitions (Instant Help) • Amazon||$11.88||1||$11.88|
|Magic Spring - 3 inch, Plastic, Star • Office Playground||$0.99||3||$2.97|
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This classroom project was brought to life by Produce for Kids and 2 other donors.