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Take the Sting Out of Test Taking

A change of wording helps ease anxiety with this idea by Toni, a 2nd Grade Teacher, in Davie, FL.

After 16 years as art teacher, my school eliminated art, so I had to begin teaching in the regular classroom for the first time ever!

Even before I made my transition into the regular classroom, I had heard horror stories about students freezing up when they had to take a test. I decided that would not happen in my classroom. So, from day one, I explained to my students that in my classroom, there would be NO TESTS. Instead, we would be having SHOWS!

My students know I own horses and that I ride in horse shows. I asked them what they think would happen if I just took one of my horses out of the barn and tried to show him without practicing. They agreed I would not show as well as if I practiced. I then promised them I would always TEACH them what they need to know and give them plenty of time to PRACTICE until they KNOW what they need to know. I also promised to give them all of the answers, plus the tools to get the answers, before scheduling a SHOW. I said, “You will know everything you need to make a good SHOWing each and every time.” This new approach to test-taking—TEACH/PRACTICE/KNOW/SHOW— works! No test anxiety in my class! And, we look forward to all of our SHOWS!

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The article above was featured in the October edition of Really Good Stuff’s Classroom Connections Newsletter. Check out the other articles from that edition:

Turn Literacy into a Hands-On Event
Wipe-Off Mats Boost Reading Comprehension
Field Trips Promote Health-y Vocabulary Skills
A Teacher by Any Other Name is Still as Smart
Help Parents “Flip” for Reading
Take the Sting Out of Test Taking
How Cans and Chips Help Promote Desired Behaviors
Laundry Baskets Help Emerging Readers Succeed
A Handy Way for Kids to Signal They’re Through
Pumpkin Personalities Help Readers Depict Feelings Found in Literature
Pumpkins Provide Seeds for Learning
Rock Your Classroom All the Way to 100!
October’s Q & A: Listening Strategies
September’s Q & A: Ideas to Teach Reading


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