Test Prep

Tomorrow my sixth-grade readers take their state test in reading. In Virginia, the state tests are called SOLs. We have been preparing for tomorrow. The day before is always a tough day. The tension is palpable. I answered questions…and there were a lot of questions! I gave them a pep talk…another one and then class began. They had choices today.

  1. Make positive and motivational signs for test takers.
  2. Complete practice SOL questions.
  3. Read.
  4. Write in your notebook. 

Students were invited to do what they needed. I conferenced and checked in on their work and eavesdropped. I heard them whispering and planning their signs. I saw students reading silently and a few practicing for tomorrow with released test questions.  The class was relaxed and students were productive.  

Part of my pep talk asked them, What story are you telling yourself? I wondered aloud if they are telling themselves that they are dumb or going to fail or bad? If so, I reminded them to start telling themselves a new story. Their new story is this:

I am ready. I am prepared. I am a successful and accomplished reader. I can do this!

I reminded them that when they walk into that testing room tomorrow, they aren’t alone. I’m with them…not literally, but figuratively. I told them to imagine me sitting on their shoulder…I heard some giggles. I told them to envision me sitting on the top of the computer screen…now there are guffaws and someone blurts out, “You mean, like a floating head?!?!” I smiled and agreed. I told them to imagine whatever helps them.

These signs are hanging in the hall as they walk into our classroom. Here they are…


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