We know it’s coming and no matter your opinion on standardized testing, the reality is that it’s likely a huge part of your school’s spring calendar and greatly affects school culture. You’re probably busy with test security trainings, last-minute tutorials, accommodations planning and that all-consuming test scheduling.
You must also do some proactive planning to help students and teachers stay positive during the upcoming testing season. Here are three simple ways you and your staff can use Kickboard to help your school maintain a positive, stress-free school culture during testing:
Well before the test, have staff teach breathing, meditation, visualization and stretching techniques to help students cope with stressful situations. Many schools use a counselor, social worker, or other staff to help students learn these stress-reducing strategies but try using Kickboard to reinforce students using them. Add a behavior in Kickboard such as “stress free” and ask teachers to award students points or dollars each time they observe a child employing the techniques independently. You might even want to set it up as an automatic trigger so that anyone with, for example, five stress-free behaviors within a week, gets a recognition as the “Stress-Buster”.
Designate a time each day for students to offer affirmations to each other. First, have adults model specific affirmations that highlight positive academic and social behaviors you want to reinforce and that will help them succeed both on the upcoming test and in life. Here are a few examples:
You helped me see the actions in your narrative with vivid verb choices like scampered and glided.
You showed kindness today when you helped me pick up the markers I spilled.
You showed perseverance during math group this morning when you kept re-trying that multi-step word problem until you got a reasonable answer.
Then, take a few minutes at least once each day for students to publically share affirmations about their classmates. Teachers can have students either write then read them or simply state them aloud. When a student offers an affirmation to a peer, celebrate what is stated. However, make sure teachers also reward the affirmation-giver for taking time to encourage others. Giving that student a dollar or point in Kickboard using a designated behavior such as “Affirmation” or “Encouragement” will lead to more students sharing affirmations as you go through the spring. You can even ask Kickboard to set up a trigger for a positive consequence such as “Affirmation All-Star” when students offer more than three affirmations within a week.
First, decide if you need or want to add or adjust any behaviors or quick buttons in your Kickboard site that would reinforce habits and attitudes that will help students succeed on the upcoming tests. Remind teachers that Daily Activity is a powerful tool to reinforce positive academic choices and notify them of any Kickboard site changes. Set the expectation and monitor that teachers are tracking behaviors such as grit, engagement, extra effort, and focus. Then, in the week or two leading up to testing, ask teachers to have a conversation with individual students using Culture Analysis data filtered by student to celebrate evidence of the positive choices they’ve been making which will help them ace the test!
Using these simple ideas will help maintain your positive campus culture as well as help students reduce stress and gain confidence. You’ll likely want to make some minor adjustments to your Kickboard site in order to implement these suggestions so as always, don’t hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help. A small investment of time and intentionality will return great dividends to everyone when students reduce stress and are able to show all they know on that state assessment!