However you feel about it, standardized testing is a part of many education systems around the world. Testing obviously comes with extra pressure for teachers and learners alike, but there are many ways to ease the pressure and reduce the stress of testing.
Having some fun in the classroom is one way of making this difficult time of year a little easier. It can release positive endorphins, momentarily distract from pressures, and bring a sense of togetherness.
Here are some of fun activities to try in the classroom, that can also help with test practice and performance:
1. Just dance
Exercise is shown to help clear the mind and reduce stress, and makes a nice break from studying. Dancing is easy to do in the classroom, and will probably cause a lot of laughter too. You can find lots of videos on YouTube to dance along to. As a bonus, dance to some motivational tracks that will get the children feeling ready to take on the world.
Turn test practice into a gameshow by adapting a popular format, such as Jeopardy! or Wheel of Fortune or Who Wants to be a Millionaire. For older students, get them to create the questions, reinforcing their own learning. Have children compete in teams to reduce individual pressure.
3. Snowball fight – no snow needed!
Write quiz questions on bits of paper, scrunch them up, and use them for a snowball fight in the classroom! After a minute or two, call time and get each student to pick up a snowball and answer the question. Keep going until you run out of snowballs!
4. Sing along
Work together as a class to write songs – or even raps! – around key facts, coming up with funny rhymes or associations. Turning facts into songs will then help their recall when they sit the tests.
5. Pass the parcel
Wrap a bag of candy inside multiple layers of paper. Hide quiz questions between layers of paper, as well as some little treats along the way, and have kids pass the parcel around as you play music. When the music stops, whoever is holding the parcel rips off a layer and reads out and answers the question.
Bonus: Practice on Sumdog!
Sumdog is directly aligned to key standards and curricula, so can be used to practice for tests in an engaging environment that provides instant rewards for hard work. Students can work on key skills while still having fun.
Do you have other fun ways of reducing stress in your classroom? We’d love to hear them!