The dreaded state testing week, LEAP if you’re in the public school circle, is looming over us.
While it’s an absolutely miserable week for students and teachers alike, there are things you can do to help ease the stress of testing.
- Feed your child a healthy well balanced breakfast before school. Skip the sugar loaded foods; those only lead to energy crashes later. Think bacon and eggs with toast.
- Make sure they are well rested. This isn’t the week to stay up late … start winding down after dinner and hop in bed early for some extra shut eye.
- Water, water, water. Dehydration can lead to memory fog and overall mental fatigue. Sipping on water all day is a great way to remedy that. Just check with your child’s teacher first. I allow my students to have water all day on their desk, except during testing. During test week, their water stays on the floor and they can get sips in between test sessions. The only thing worse than a foggy memory is a wet test.
- Chew gum or suck on mints. Again, ask your child’s teacher first, but if you offer to send enough for the class, you’ll rarely get told no. During testing, I pass out peppermints to students and have in the past even allowed gum chewing. Both of these help with test anxiety and the peppermint perks them up a bit with the early morning tests.
Now if you really want to go the extra mile, I’ll share one of my favorite testing ideas I’ve ever been told. It started my second year of teaching when the school I was at had a group of “teacher coaches” to help improve the school and overall teaching. Come test time, the big thing that was pushed was snacks between test sessions. I’ve held onto that ever since and tend to buy them myself these days.
This could be a big help or maybe even an idea that your child’s teacher hasn’t heard of. So suggest it and see how it goes. But every year I buy snacks and water for my class, healthy snacks. State testing isn’t the time for a Little Debbie.
A week or two before testing, I will either send out a note to parents or just make a Sam’s run myself to gather snacks for our break time between test sessions (you know the ones … Reading in the morning and Math later on). By passing out the small bottle of water and a healthy snack, the kids aren’t starting their second test on an empty stomach. During this mini break, they have the chance to go to the bathroom, stretch, munch on something, and get refocused. But enough about my mid test snack, here are a few snacks I’ve approved to munch on during testing:
*Note: I know some of these won’t work in a nut free school … it all depends on who’s in your class that year.
- Peanut Butter Crackers or Cheese Crackers
- Animal Crackers
- Applesauce Packs like Go Go Squeeze
- Goldfish Crackers
- Trail Mix
- String Cheese
- Bananas, Oranges, or Apples
- Yogurt packet, something easy and single serve like Go-Gurt that doesn’t require a spoon.