Georgia schools are gearing up to take the Georgia Milestones test. It’s critically important for our Georgia teachers to implement to ways to address test anxiety in high stakes areas. There are several ways that schools and parents can help children who deal with text anxiety or who are experiencing stress around testing. The testing season symbolizes the end of the school year. Here are some ways that schools can help students during this time and maintain safe, sound and engaging academic programs once testing ends.
Creating Welcoming Environments
Schools must create atmospheres that are conducive to learning. Many times we have great learning environments however, we must create the same type of results driven environment when children are testing. Soothing music such as jazz is a great way to keep students calm. Peppermints and healthy snacks are great refreshments to have during testing for students. Educators want to produce an atmosphere in which students can focus yet be empowered. Self confidence is key! The testing environment that schools establish helps determine the level of success that students acquire.
Structured Recess Time
Place yourself in the shoes on an Educator monitoring children during testing. Students are required to sit quietly, in one place, no access to cell phone and no engagement with anyone else other than the test before them. Regardless of the grade level, students need structured recess or break time during testing. Social interactions matter! There are free and fun ways that schools can plan school wide or grade level activities. At my school we have grade level relay races planned to help build healthy competition, engagement and ways for scholars to get out excess energy in a fun way. Other tips for structured recess or activities include Uno, chess and checkers. Traditional card and board games do work.
Testing is a reminder that the school year is coming to an end. A best practice my former Principal implemented at our school during testing was transition planning. Testing time wasn’t used for naps or getting end of the year activities ready. We used the weeks of testing and end of year prepare scholars for the next grade level. Scholars were completing assessments. Teachers reviewed each students learning targets with the student and parents. Students were tested for specialty programs i.e. gifted/talented, SPED, 504, etc.
The time during and after testing was also utilized to help ensure the needs of all students will be met the following year. This is not a time off from learning but a time on for engaging lessons! Engaging lessons help prepare students for the next year. Teachers should include a lot of hands on learning, oratory reports, visual and STEM based projects. This is also a great time to implement service learning projects that can continue on throughout the summer.
Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.