Monday, February 15, 2016

Mindfulness Monday (Test Anxiety)

I recently started an anti test-anxiety group based on the book The Anti Test-Anxiety Society by Julia Cook.  I am running this group with a group of 3rd graders as well as with a group of 5th graders.  The group will meet once a week for 5 weeks and we will be incorporating mindfulness and mindset into these lessons.  I have connected you to everything that you need to conduct this group, starting with the book that I am using:
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Description from Julia Cook's Website:  
Betha Billinsworth (BB for short) is basically a happy person until she has to take a test.  To her, the word test stands for Terrible Every Single Time, because that's how she does on them, TERRIBLE!  
"Whenever I see or hear the word test,
The hair on the back of my neck stands up.
My face turns as red as a beet.
I start to sweat, my stomach aches, and I can't control my feet!
What if I get every answer wrong?
And I don't get any right.
I just know I'll get a bad grade on this test, so I don't even want to try!"
BB's teacher comes to the rescue by inviting her to become a member of the Anti-Test Anxiety Society.  She tells BB that TEST stands for Think Each Situation Through!
She also ends up teaching BB the Dynamic Dozen (12 amazing test taking strategies), and convinces her to use her "GET To" brain instead of her HAVE TO' brain.
Now when BB takes a test, she is calm and focused and thanks to her teacher, the Terrible now stands for Terrific. You can purchase The Anti Test-Anxiety Society HERE.

Outline of Group Sessions:
Session 1:  
Students complete a test-anxiety assessment.  You could use either one of these:
I then read pages 3-15 in Julia Cook's The Anti-Test Anxiety Society and have a discussion about Warning Signs.  I use the second step program with grades k-2 so we applied information from the Second Step Emotional Management lessons.  We wrote BB's warning s signs on the board and talked about how your brain has trouble thinking when feelings are strong.   I then  had students complete Mindset Worksheets.  For some reason I am having a hard time getting the picture to turn...the cloud worksheet says; Instead of saying..."Terrible Every Single Time" and the sun worksheet says; Try Saying... "Think Each Situation Through".  These quotes come directly from The Anti-Test Anxiety Society.   I use mindset with all of my students in their classroom lessons so I didn't need to introduce this concept to them.  You can get the pictured worksheets for Free on TPT.  If you don't already cover mindset and warning signs in classroom lessons you may want to break this session into two sessions; one covering warning signs and how strong feelings make it difficult to think and the other session talking about mindset.  You can find some mindset materials HERE.

Session 2: 
During session 2 I read the rest of Anti-Test Anxiety Society.  We talk about how the brain works and we go over the mindfulness poster that comes with the MindUp Curriculum.  We talks about our mindfulness posters from the week before and then discuss using the GET TO part of your brain verses the HAVE To part of the brain (pages 16-17 in The Anti-Test Anxiety Society).  We review the warning signs from the previous lesson and begin a discussion on how strong feelings prevent the thinking part of the brain from working and allow the feeling part to take control. (Hand visual from Second Step).  These are some good resources that are FREE on TPT:

Session 3:  
We review the information from sessions 1 and 2 and then focus on the "Dynamic Dozen" from Anti-Test Anxiety Society.  This is a list of 12 simple things that will lesson test anxiety.  I then have students create this foldable.  I changed mine to read T.E.S.T. on the outside ( Think Each Solution Through) and then I had students put the 12 tips from the "Dynamic Dozen" on the inside.  They did 3 tips per door.
Test Taking Tips Foldable "RELAX"

Session 4:
Session 4 is spent practicing tip # 6 (Stay relaxed).  We review our warning signs and then brainstorm ways to relax.  I use some of the strategies from Wilma Jean The Worry Machine, another book by Julia Cook, in the lesson as well as strategies from A 5 could make me lose control.  We practice the following techniques:
Breathing using the "Breathing Ball"

Session 5:
We review the materials from previous weeks.  We discuss warning signs and each student reads the 12 tips from their foldable.  We then practice our "calming-down" strategies.  At the end of Session 5 I handed out notes of encouragement:

Notes of Encouragement for Test Takers FREEBIE

More Connections:
Test Taking Tips

7 Proven Strategies to Reduce Anxiety at School and at Home
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Purchase The Anti Test-Anxiety Society HERE.
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1 comment:

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