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The Weeks Leading Up to Testing in Elementary: How to Calm & Prepare Students (& Why This Matters)

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Show Notes:

This week on the podcast, we’re continuing our conversation about how to prepare your students for state standardized testing. In part one of this series, episode 232, we talked about test taking strategies in language arts. In part two, episode 233, I shared test taking strategies in math. I recommend going back and listening to those episodes first if you haven’t already!

Now it’s time to focus specifically on how we can calm, prepare, and inspire your students for assessments in the weeks leading up to testing. Learning the content is one piece of test-prep, and something that you’ve been preparing your students for all year. However, there’s another important piece of test preparation, and that is mindset. 

Your students are likely feeling a lot of anxiety about testing. They could be nervous about the length of the test, the types of questions they’ll see, and just the overwhelming pressure of how well they’ll perform on the test. This pressure to excel could be coming from their parents, from teachers, or even from themselves. Regardless of where the pressure is stemming from, it can result in your students lacking confidence in themselves.

They need your help to start feeling more positive about their potential and their ability to succeed. A lot of kids probably have never been taught how to calm themselves and how to shift into a positive mindset, but these skills are so important! If you can give your students these tools, then they can feel empowered and at peace going into the test. 

On a practical level, brain research tells us that when we are in a state of anxiety, (aka fight or flight mode) we’re less able to access our reasoning and critical thinking skills. So if our students are experiencing this, they’re going to have a much harder time focusing on the test and performing to the best of their ability. 

To help you support your students in achieving a positive mindset, I have five strategies that you can use to calm and prepare them. These are tools that can help them during test season and beyond. You can hear more about these ideas on my Instagram and TikTok accounts. Come on over and share which strategy you’ll be trying out this year!

Inside this week's show, you'll learn:

  • The role that social emotional learning plays in how our students feel about testing.
  • How working with your students on their mindset can drastically change the amount of effort they put into their work.
  • 8 tips for intentionally using affirmations in your classroom for you and your students.
  • Examples of mindfulness exercises you can do every morning to help your students process big emotions, practice self regulation, and feel more at peace.
  • The value in giving students time to share what is making them feel nervous or anxious about taking the test.
  • Books to read to your students that will calm nerves and provide test-taking advice.
  • What a ‘word rock’ is and how you can use it to help your students think positively and feel confident.

Links & resources mentioned inside this episode:

I hope this information is helpful as you prepare for your first, second, or third year of teaching. Until next time, remember, just because you're a beginning elementary teacher, there's no need for you to struggle like one.

πŸ’› Lori

Dr. Lori Friesen | Beginning Teacher Mentor

Creator of the R.E.A.D.Y. for School Academy, Dr. Lori Friesen has mentored thousands of beginning teachers across the country through her workshops and courses. Host of the popular podcast, Beginning Teacher Talk, and creator of the innovative literacy program for 1st and 2nd grade, Dogs Help Kids Read and Succeed, Dr. Lori is dedicated to serving educators and inspiring learners. Learn more at and at

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