Thursday, May 11, 2017

Test Prep

Tomorrow my sixth-grade readers take their state test in reading. In Virginia, the state tests are called SOLs. (Yes, I know. It stands for Standards of Learning.) 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. 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 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.

That's MY head in a jar saying, "You GOT this!!!"
These signs are hanging in the hall as they walk into our classroom.

Thank you to Ruth Ayres for providing this space for sharing our celebrations. Please join us and share your own!


  1. I love all these signs Michelle. Your students are lucky that you help them prepare not only in terms of content, but also in approach and attitude.

  2. The floating head image is funny. You sitting on their shoulder even funnier. Your prep talks and pics are awesome. I hope they help.

  3. I love how enthusiastically you pushed your students to be positive. I am so glad we are finished. Such a crazy stressful time!

  4. Believing you can is an important key to success. I love how you let your students know that you believe they can... It's easier to believe you can when you know someone else already believes you can.

  5. I love the time you spend sending positive messages and prepping your students. And now I'm imagining you sitting on shoulders and sitting on the tops of those computer screens. Do they know how blessed they are to have you for their teacher?

  6. Michelle, this is a wonderful idea that got your students into the positive thinking mode. I love this mantra: I am ready. I am prepared. I am a successful and accomplished reader. I can do this!


Please share your thoughts. I love comments!