Spring brings all kinds of things. Rain showers, the first glimpses of sunshine after a cold dark winter, and things start to bloom. It also means that high stakes testing season has begun! At schools all over the country students are diligently darkening bubbles with number 2 pencils and pounding away at computer keyboards as they practice for “the big test”.
We practice, give pep talks, tell the kids that testing is their day to shine, and review then review more. As teachers we tell our students not to stress, then we lay awake wondering if we really covered angle types sufficiently or if the students really got the author’s purpose lesson we so carefully crafted.
One of my favorite things to do with my students to help alleviate stress before the test is to make “I Can”. These are “can shaped” mailboxes covered with either the letter “I” or pictures of eyes glued all over them. Get it? It is an "I Can”. (See the examples below.)
Each morning before testing the students place the “I Cans” on their desk. It is then filled with encouraging messages. The students LOVE getting messages and it really helps take the pressure of the test off!
I send a template home for parents to fill out a few weeks before the test. I also write an “I Can” message each day, I have the principal write a daily message, and I recruit other staff members to write messages (I have each person write 1 message that I copy it for the class.) If time permits I even allow kids to write message to one another (I check all messages and usually assign a few classmates to each child so no one is left out.) An example of the template is below.
The “I Can” messages really lighten the mood. After students have finished reading the messages I take up the “I Cans” because (GULP) nothing but the test book and a #2 pencil can be on their desk.
A parent recently told me her child saved all his “I Can” messages from 4th grade. She said that she found them for years after in his room and that every time he read one he smiled. After hearing that I created a template for making “I Cans” and “I Can” messages. It is free (and will always be) free in my Teachers Pay Teachers. If you have a few minutes and some card stock paper this is a “craftivity” you students will never forget! The link to the template is below!