I wondered what I could do for all the students in my little school--about 150 kids in 3rd and 4th grade. What I did took time, and it was small. (I could have spent the same amount of time creating some snazzy review activity.) I was blown away by what a big deal it was for some of the kids.
I made a little hand written banner that reads:
3rd and 4th Graders: You make us proud every day. Now do your best on the OAA!
(From the Staff and Students of our school.)
Then I wrote each kids first name on a little star and hung them up. The location was by the kitchen, because on testing days the parent group makes the kids breakfast. I hung them up a few days before testing started.
Here's the thing: Everyone wants (needs) to be recognized and known. This was way bigger than reviewing. Someone knows my name and wants me to do well. That is big--HUGE. I think it's so easy to forget this in education--especially around high stakes testing.
I'm always nervous when we get to testing week, but I feel good knowing that for some kids being seen will be enough--regardless of their score.
What tips do you have for empowering kids or teachers around high stakes testing?