My Tips to Increase Student Motivation During State Testing
State testing is such a unique time of year. Teachers and students are stressed and tired. Student motivation can really make or break state testing. When your students are feeling excited and empowered, anything is possible! So how do I keep my students motivated?
On the first day, I give my students encouraging notes. Whether this note is written from you, a parent, or another student it will have a tremendous impact.
I typically research student motivation quotes and also include a heartfelt personalized note. I tell them how much they’ve grown and how proud I am of all they’ve accomplished this year. This puts them in the proper head space when beginning their test and assures them that everything will be fine. If you’re interested in learning how to print on sticky notes, check out this blog post.
This is one of my favorite student motivators! Each day of state testing, my teammate and I leave a small treat on their desk. The students come into school each day excited to see what will be waiting for them.
The Secret Box
Similar to our other strategies for motivation, using a secret box is a ton of fun. Place a card box or any box you have lying around the house with a cute tag that reads “do not open until _____” (Usually the last day of state testing). This builds suspense all week long and gives them something to look forward to and work towards. A lot of testing motivation comes from building excitement!
Motivational Videos for Students
Below is a list of my favorite motivational videos for students.
212 Degrees – this one will require a bit of explanation
Student Motivation Speech
Give your students a state testing speech. Keep it empowering and upbeat. This is not the time for reminders or to add any extra pressure on them.
Remind them that they can handle anything that shows up on this test and when they get stuck – they need to speak to themselves kindly. They need to give their brain a chance to understand before giving up
You could also have a fellow student give this state testing pep talk. Sometimes hearing from their peers gets everyone hyped and excited too.
Web of Love
I love this activity for building a strong classroom community and as a test prep motivator. Put all of your students in a circle and give one student a ball of yarn or string. The student with the ball of yarn will hold onto one piece and will toss the ball to another student. When the 2nd student catches the yarn, the first student will give them a compliment and explain why the other student is an important member of your class. This cycle continues until you have a web of yarn aka a web of love.
An additional idea for standardized testing motivation is fear notes. Fear notes are notes written by students that express their fearful thoughts and negative feelings about the test. For example, many students are scared it’ll be too hard or they aren’t smart enough. I encourage them to write all of these things down and then destroy it. You can have students rip up their letters and throw them in the trash along with their fearful thinking. From now on, it’s nothing but positivity and hard work.
Testing Motivation Posters
You know the depressing moment when you have to remove all your decorations and anchor charts? Replace them with motivation posters. When your students look around the room all they’ll see is encouragement.
Let students have fun. At this point, they’ve learned everything they could possibly learn. Let them be kids, dance the jitters out, and enjoy school. A dance party can really solve all problems in life…. Especially student motivation haha!
Growth Mindset All Year Long
I’m a huge advocate for teaching growth mindset and positive mindset strategies all year long. If you are looking for additional resources, check out the following resources and articles.
Additional Blog Posts
Best of luck on your state assessment!