I don't know about you, but I am fed up with all of the fill in the bubble, sit at your desk, formal tests that my babies (well, kindergartners) are required to do these days to fulfill end of year assessment requirements. Just when I think we are done, there is JUST ONE MORE TEST....not only do we have to test them, but we have to teach them how to take tests. At 5 and 6 years old? Nope, the letter i.d. is not nearly enough anymore because we need data folks! Although it is difficult to come to terms with for these kiddos, it is a new sign of the times and we need to figure out ways to work with it rather than against it, right???
Keeping this in mind, I want my test-taking children's stress level to be (way) lower than mine as I administer it and for them to be relaxed and motivated. How do you motivate young children to do their best and try really hard in these testing situations?? Certainly not with scores, so it has to be with candy, of course!
I know, it
is may seem like a type of bribery, but I like to view it more like a reward for working hard and being good little test takers (plus, it is always just an eency, weency bit...say 5 smarties or 5 mini marshmallows or a small handful of fruit loops...)I give them these treats in their "offices" and allow them to pop one in their mouth after we complete a few questions on the test. They lose them for talking, looking in other's offices, or shouting out answers (they just don't get that this is a TEST...but how on earth can we expect them to know that when they don't even know what a test is). They do not like to lose their special treats (or "brain power" as I call it), so they try very hard to look like "almost 1st graders" by working hard. They now associate tests with treats and view test taking time as something to look forward to rather than dread and stress over. Mission accomplished....
....until today. I had an assessment, but was out of all of my itty bitty candy treats. Knowing how devastated I knew my kinders would be, I opened my cupboard just hoping something would appear I guess, and only saw a shaker full of rainbow colored sprinkles....hmmmmm...it would have to do. The shaker had the little holes on the top for them to pop out of and I knew it was fate. You would have thought I was sprinkling $100 bills all over the world as I shook out about 20 tiny sprinkles for each of my loves. They couldn't believe they were getting to eat sprinkles without ice cream! Brain sprinkles in a jar---if they work for my kinders, they work for me! Plus, have SO MANY, you can be a little pickier with your behavior expectations because taking one isn't really a big deal (to you anyway!).
I created a Brain Sprinkles label that will turn a cheap bottle of rainbow colored jimmies into a beautiful bottle of Brain Sprinkles (and provide you with a wonderful test taking experience with your students-- who would have thought??). Enjoy!