Most teachers use gimmicks and bribes to get through standardized testing. Elementary school kids don’t really have an understanding of the importance some put on these kinds of tests, so using some encouragement can help increase effort. I have heard of teachers letting their kids chew minty gum or suck on mints to keep minds awake. Another idea is to let the kids take off their shoes while they are testing. Others use bribes like extra recesses or parties or prizes for putting forth best efforts.
As I’ve mentioned, my school has a very low income population and therefore one of our biggest concerns is that our kids won’t have eaten a decent breakfast. We don’t want growling bellies to lessen focus while testing. Many of us have “brainfood” available for our kids when they arrive in the classroom. During morning business and while setting up for the test, students are given a little baggie or cup of brainfood. This is like a trail mix mixture with cereals, nuts, raisins, pretzels, etc.
This year I have a student who is allergic to peanuts, so I created his own bag of brainfood. After explaining this to him, one of my other students and I shared this exchange…
R – Can I get my own bag because I’m allergic to these raisins. (snarls at the raisins in his baggie)
Miss Delight – You’re allergic to raisins? I’ve never heard of that allergy before.
R - (nods) I am!
Miss Delight – What happens when you eat them?
R – I spit them out and go aaagggghhhhh (making a gagging sound).
Miss Delight - (rolls eyes and walks away)
If you didn’t get a chance to see this yet, be sure to check it out. Fun-ny!