It does not matter how much review you do, if your students are not invested in the testing they are about to do, they will not perform well. Motivating your students is just as important as that last minute division review or vocabulary discussion. In fact, nurturing a student’s motivation may be more important than anything else you do to prepare.
Think about your own performance when you are motivated versus when you are not. Being invested in what you are doing makes you work harder, focus more and gives you the desire to excel. If you are not interested in what you are doing, you tend to pay less interest and do enough to simply get by. The same is true for your students.
Test Prep Motivation Strategies
We asked teachers how they keep their students motivated and the most interesting idea we received was from Tina C. in Kent, WA. Read below to find out how her elementary school takes motivating students seriously. You may want to approach your school’s staff and faculty to do the same thing.
“We do state testing [in grades] 3-6 for our elementary. Preparing is A HUGE thing that goes on in the building.
All of our teachers wear a t-shirt that says, “Everyday is training day.” We have been wearing these shirts the last Friday of every month. [The] principal does an assembly about training as if we are training for the Olympics or the Tour de France. He shows YouTube videos and the kids read them out loud as they are played. He has even copied the idea with a video from kids from our school and what they are doing to be prepared for testing.
During the starting week of [state testing], which we call the Brain Olympics, all kids in grades 3-6 are fed breakfast in our multi-purpose room. [During breakfast] the K-2 students perform songs of encouragement and poems to let them know how proud they are and that they know that our 3-6 graders can do it!
Each 3-6 grade class has made a banner to represent their class [that is filled] with encouraging words. Once breakfast is over, each class walks around the school holding their banners as the K-2 kids stand outside their rooms and cheer. It is like a parade around the school. All of that is just for the start of when the testing window is open!
Our principal provides water and snacks for the week of testing. The younger students have a buddy room where they make encouraging signs for their walls, since we have to take down or cover the posters on the walls.
We train every day for the test. We do sample problems, we encourage and and we state our school pledge:
“I will act in such a way that I can be proud of myself and others will be proud of me too. I came to school to learn and I will learn. I will have a great day.”
Our younger kids beg to take the state test, because they want to show how smart they are too!”
Whether it is with class or school t-shirts, encouraging messages everyday, or a pep rally to get students excited, keeping students motivated during testing time is important. What does your school do to keep your students interested and involved in testing? Share your ideas and experiences with us below!