Standardized testing season is upon us. Students, and teachers, will be put to the test when their grade level takes the STAAR test, or State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness. This can be a time of anxiety for everyone in the classroom, so we’ve provided some healthy STAAR testing tips. Share these testing tips for educators to prepare everyone for the STAAR test mentally, emotionally, and physically!
Before the Test
While you may be focusing on content review, make sure to prepare your students with healthy, practical tips. Remind them to get enough sleep the night before the test. Relay the importance of a healthy breakfast the day of the test. With your students, brainstorm ideas for breakfast that are high in fiber and lean protein to increase cognitive speed and memory. Teach them non-disruptive stress management techniques they can practice the day of the test. This can include short, quiet mediation, positive self-affirmations, and mindful breathing techniques. You can download this handout for students to take home to remind them of all your STAAR healthy testing tips!
The Day of the Test
The day of the test make sure you are prepared so your students can perform their best! Have extra pencils, erasers, and testing materials for students. And make sure students got a good breakfast. If they arrive early, send them to the cafeteria for a healthy breakfast. If nothing else, provide a box of granola bars or fruit for students. If time allows, schedule some physical activity before the test as well. Research shows this can increase academic performance including improved reading comprehension, increased attention, and memory.
During the Test
While testing, make the most of scheduled break times. Use this script to lead students in a three-minute deep belly breathing exercise. Allow students to lead each other in some stretches to get their blood flowing and to clear the mind. And one of the most important things you can do as an educator is be present during testing. If possible, walk around the room and give non-verbal encouragement to your students. This could be a smile or a hand on a shoulder!
Testing Tips for Educators: Practice Self-Care!
Remember that your students will be looking to you as an example. When you are calm and focused your students will reflect that energy. So, make sure you practice what you teach by getting enough sleep, eating right, and reducing stress levels.
Need help practicing self-care during testing season? From eating a healthy breakfast every morning to beginning an exercise regimen to reduce stress, a Living Healthier coach can help! Living Healthier is a free, confidential, and bilingual hotline. Coaches will help you set goals, and hold you accountable to them. To learn more visit www.itstimetexas.org/livinghealthier or call 844-262-6224.