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"I tell my students that it is important for them to come to school with their 'A' game. That means come having had a full night's sleep, a good, healthy breakfast and a positive attitude." — Tonya Breland
By Miriam Myers , GreatSchools Staff
Managing test stress
Students should feel confident and as relaxed as possible when the time comes to take the state tests. By teaching to the standards, teachers can help ease the uncertainty and stress related to test taking. The teacher's and the school's attitude toward the tests can affect the students' attitudes.
Talking to your child about the test ahead of time is a good way to minimize any stress she feels about taking it. Linda Eisenger, a third-grade teacher and Missouri's Teacher of the Year in 2005 notes: "I tell my students we take the state tests because the state legislature wants to know what the students know, and they want to make sure I, as their teacher, am doing my job."
Getting mentally prepared
"There is also an aspect of psychological preparation that is important for children to have," Karen Heath notes. "They need to know the tests are important, and so an air of seriousness should surround the experience, but the testing should not be introduced as separate from the rest of their school experience.
"I have always told students that these tests are a chance to show what they know or to show off their great thinking. Present the experience as an opportunity to put forth their best effort, while acknowledging that sitting and working for long stretches is not easy." Some teachers may even teach the class relaxing breathing exercises to help ease the tension and prepare them for testing. On the day of the test, it is key that students are mentally and physically prepared.
A good night's sleep and a good breakfast
Tonya Breland suggests: "I tell my students that it is important for them to come to school with their 'A' game. That means come having had a full night's sleep, a good, healthy breakfast and a positive attitude. Those three ingredients are what will lessen their stress, relax them, and put them in the best position to do their absolute best. ...And I tell them that they can do it!"
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