Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sparking Student Motivation for Upcoming Testing

We are back to link up with our girl Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching for:

At the beginning of March we blogged about some bulletin boards we had created to get ready for testing and to boost the feeling of community and the self-esteems of our students (click here for that post).

Stacia used her baseball themed bulletin board to promote the "team spirit" to get ready for testing along with her sticker charts for motivation for good behavior and work completion.

I wrote about my pot of gold.  This was about the time that my students were starting to pick at each other and also the time that I could tell some of my students were feeling a little overwhelmed with the curriculum.  So, I told them they they were my gold because they are why I come to school everyday and they are very important to me.

I gave them a character traits chart and a list of every student in the class.  They brainstormed independently words for each person in our class.  Then, I put each student's gold coin up on the document camera and every student called out the character trait that they had written for that person.  It was so awesome to see the student's face when they got to hear all of those sweet words that described them.  I know some of my bloggy friends saw it and did it a little different- I think they used it with scoot, which is also a cute way to do it (scoot-cute- it rhymes...SQUIRREL...sorry!!)  :O)

Anyway, I'm revisiting this now because, yes, that pot of gold is still outside my door.  I had told my students that I would take it down and glue the coins to their desk before the state test came around because I wanted them to be reminded of how wonderful they are.  They really loved having it outside the classroom because it's where we lined up every day and they would just look at it and look at was so sweet.  Plus, they got to see other kids looking at it (they were totally jealous!  ;O)) and teachers would stop to say how much they liked it.  So, it's still there, but Monday I am going to take it down and put their coins on their desks, since the test is only a week away.  Sigh.  One week.  Anyway, we'll just pretend that's not looming, k?

I know you can't do a pot of gold now...but you could do something similar to pump them up...if not a gold coin, maybe a gold star?

I also wanted to tell you about the testing treats that we will be using when the testing starts (which we are still denying is right around the corner, right?  It's still spring break afterall...)  ;O)

We used these treats last year for our class and they loved them.  It all comes from Jessica at The Polka-Dotted Teacher and it's all FREE (I've linked it below on the button)!!

We did a different treat than Jessica put on here for Monday. It was "You're a Smart Cookie" with a pack of the snack sized cookies, but then we did the rest of the treats just as Jessica has on her freebie.  (Isn't her freebie amazing??  So sweet of her to share that!!  Thanks Jessica!!)

It is a little pricey to get all of these treats for your students, and especially since I have 30 in my class this year, I knew I didn't want to have to buy them all on my own.  I sent an SOS out to my parents to see if anyone was willing to donate some of the items for us.  But, I think they are just adorable, so I am sure I will work it out either way.

What do you do to get ready for testing?  How do you keep the pressure from coming down on your students?  I'd love to hear your ideas!!


  1. I "stole" your pot of gold idea for St. Patrick's Day and my kiddos LOVED it! When I took it down, many of them kept their coins and taped them to their desks - "for when I am lacking joy" one of my kiddos said! :)

    For testing prep, I put up a "Rock the Test" bulletin board with different testing strategies written on musical instruments. The kiddos LOVED the board - and each morning before we started testing, they would ask me to read the strategies to get them "in the zone." Too cute!

    I used similar testing encouragement notes - but you're right, it can get pricey. On two of them, I just wrote a personal, encouragement note on the bottom instead of placing candy. On the cookie one, I put a few chocolate chips instead of whole cookies.

    I'll be praying for you - and your students - next week!

    Joy in the Journey

  2. I love the idea of the gold coins with comments about the kids! I'll definatley be remembering that for next year. I may try it out this year at the end of the year.. great adjective/ adverb review.
    Our tests are this coming week and next. I had to take down ALL of the posters and signs in my room. They won't allow anything on the walls that would influence/help the students. This whole state assessment thing has gotten everyone so incredibly stressed!
    I'll be sending good karma your way!
    Sorry I missed the Language Arts Mentor Text link up! I wrote about Animalia in my Five for Friday linky too!

    Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans

  3. I really liked your pot of gold idea. I think it is so meaningful to the kids when it comes from their classmates - they seem to take it more to heart. Thanks for link to the testing treat freebie. Our testing is not until June but I will be checking those out for sure. Our provincial testing is not as stressful as State testing for sure - we usually just celebrate at the end.

    Looking From Third to Fourth

  4. What an awesome way to prepare your kiddos for testing! I'm going to have to remember all of these great ideas for when we take our state test next fall. (In Wisconsin, we test in October, not in the spring. Ughh...)

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  5. I LOVE the pot of gold idea!! That's the sweetest thing ever. I bet your kids loved to hear all of those positive words about themselves, and for others to read them too! I am so doing this! Thank you for such a great idea!

    Young Teacher Love 5th Grade Blog

  6. I "stole" your pot of gold idea too and my students have their gold coins in their name tag sleeves. I think they will have to go in their desks for the test though. Ya know, they might just use those positive character traits to cheat on the test! haha!!

    I am going to check out Jessica's testing freebie. Thanks so much for the link! Enjoy your last day of break tomorrow:)
    Fourth Grade Flipper


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