As February winds down it means it's time to gear up for state assessments. My dear little third graders will have three days of testing before spring break and then three more days after spring break. Lucky for me, they have an positive attitude about the testing since it is there first time. However, they still need all the encouragement they can get. One of the things I do is to give them a testing survival kit. I'll give it to them the day before we test. I talk about the significance of each item and then ask them to leave the kits in their cubbies for later use.
We will then use an item from the survival kits after our first three testing sessions. After the first day of testing we chew the gum and write directions for blowing bubbles and put them on the bulletin board. There's some great ideas about this at Lesson Plan SOS. After the second session we use the red balloons. We put a hexagon washer into each balloon, blow up the balloons, tie them, and them swirl them. They make a fun sound - almost like magic! And of course, we talk about why they are making the sound (if you do this, have a few extra balloons, if the washers have any rough spots, the balloons will break). And then we use the bubbles after our final reading test to celebrate being done (well, sort of - we still have tests after spring break!).
If you'd like a copy of the survival kit page click here. I'd love some new ideas! How do you encourage your students to do their best on their state assessments?