4 Certain Strategies to Survive Testing Season

There’s no way around it: testing season is HERE.

However, alongside testing time, another season has arrived: springtime!

Springtime is wonderful, of course, but it does have a drawback; namely, spring fever is out in full force in upper elementary classrooms. Now, my degree is in science, but even I can do the math: spring fever + testing season = distracted, restless students!

So on top of your normal teaching duties, you’ve now got a spring-fever-infested classroom to wrangle while also making sure you’re providing a supportive, positive environment for your kiddos to do their testing… And we both know how important meeting AYP is to administration. 🫢

All this to say: testing season is stressful. I know, I know—we ALL knew that. It’s important to remember, though, that you are not alone! Thousands of educators all across the country are going through a similar experience. It’s tough, but you got this!

To keep you uplifted and supported through these trying times, my friends and I have put our heads together to come up with a few strategies to help you keep your sanity until June.

Let’s jump right in—after all, you’re already pressed for time as it is!

Testing season is stressful. There's no magical wand we can wave to make all your stress melt away, but we can provide tips and strategies to support all of your hard work!

4 Strategies for Surviving Testing Season

✏️ During testing season, Marissa from Creative Classroom Core believes it is essential for teachers to create an environment that helps students reduce stress and focus on their exams. One effective strategy is to dedicate some time at the start or end of each class for relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, mindfulness, or short guided meditations. This practice can help students manage test anxiety, improve concentration, and enhance their overall well-being. Creating a supportive and calming classroom atmosphere during test season not only aids in students’ performance but also fosters a healthier approach to academic challenges. Read more from Marissa on the Creative Classroom Core blog!

✏️ What doesn’t go together like peanut butter and jelly? Long testing windows and upper elementary students. As you know, however, testing windows can stretch out for weeks for our 3rd-5th grade friends–which is draining for students and teachers alike. Why not give your students a chance to get out of their seats and move with a scavenger hunt once testing is done for the day?

Marianna from Creatively Comprehensive likes the idea of rewarding students for their hard work on standardized tests by having something out of the ordinary planned for the rest of the day. A scavenger hunt, where students get to leave their seats and search the room for fact cards, is a structured way for students to get in some movement. Not sure how to get started? Marianna has a whole page on her website devoted to planning and setting up scavenger hunts. You can even download a FREE scavenger hunt to try this testing season!

Pop over to Marianna’s blog to grab a FREE scavenger hunt to get your kiddos up and moving!

✏️ As spring fever hits the classroom, so does testing season. The kids are a little more fidgety, their gazes wandering out the window more often than not right about when you need them to focus. Sound familiar? Rissa from Teaching in the Heart of Florida feels your pain. She has experience with this feeling and has some tips and tricks up her sleeve to keep our upper elementary students focused.

In this post, Test Prep and Testing Season: Before, During, and After, Rissa shares her daily schedule that keeps students engaged and reviewing key concepts. From surprise goody bags that boost morale to interactive games that make learning stick, these tips can help you and your students thrive during testing season. For a closer look at how to make this testing season one your students will look forward to, click over to Teaching in the Heart of Florida and get inspired.

Check out Rissa’s post chock-full of helpful testing tips over on her blog by clicking the image!

✏️ Here at The Owl Teacher, I’ve shared a few tips for surviving testing season in the past, but I thought I’d toss an extra strategy your way: visualization! Visualization is a mental technique that both you and your students can utilize to prepare yourselves for success.

To guide your kiddos through the visualization process, explain that the goal is to picture themselves successfully working through test scenarios. Encourage them to close their eyes and imagine themselves approaching tough problems with confidence and understanding. When students physically visualize themselves overcoming obstacles and reaching their goals, they’re building a resilient mindset that is sure to serve them well during testing.

It works for you, too! Visualization is a great strategy to manage your own stress levels, especially when they’re rising during testing season. Take a few moments each day to visualize yourself leading your classroom with a calm, effective demeanor. Picture yourself helping students through review sessions and offering support. By mentally working toward positive outcomes, we can create a sense of calm and preparedness that positively impacts both ourselves and our students.

Ultimately, there’s no way around it: testing season is stressful. There’s no magical wand we can wave to make all your stress melt away, but we can provide tips and strategies to support all of your hard work—and we know you’re putting in plenty of it!

Remember: take each day one at a time. You’re not alone in this journey! By using these strategies my pals and I have collected for you, you’re not just helping your kiddos excel, but you’re also building resilience and mental well-being within your classroom and yourself. Let stress fall off your shoulders as you navigate this testing season with grace, support, and a steadfast commitment to the students in your classroom.

You’ve got this!

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