Increase Student Engagement during Testing Season

There is an illness going around my school right now.  I think more than 1/2 of the teachers caught it.  Some of the symptoms include insomnia, headaches, and some of them have had stomach aches.  Yes, they have "testing fever"!  The kids?  The kids have droopy eyes, blank stares and are feeling sluggish.  You guessed right...the kids have hit the wall with "test prep boredom".  

Hello Literacy Land Friends!  I'm Deniece from This Little Piggy Reads.  Today I'm going to relieve some of the stress that comes along with state testing by sharing a few tips to engage students during test prep.

I'm very competitive and so are most children.  They love playing games, so incorporate learning games. Create heterogeneous groups and let them use white boards (yes, it does increase engagement).  

ClassTools is a great website that allows you to create a QR Code Scavenger Hunt.  
SCOOT is a fun game that gets kids up & moving.  You can put test prep Q's (eg: task cards) at each desk in the classroom.  Give students an answer sheet and have them move every 2 minutes.  ClassTools also has a huge timer that would work for this game!

If you're at a school where you have to use test prep workbook days, then I would suggest using testing buddies.  I would make the students work alone and then after they are finished allow them to collaborate with their buddy.  Just be sure to set ground rules that students can't simply tell each other the answer/s.    

Finally, I would highly suggest little breaks.  Last year, I tried using Minute to Win It games and they were a hit!!  Kids won peppermints and they were super psyched! Shhh....peppermints help get the brain going.  

Now that we've taken care of the kids, let's move on to you, the teacher.  I would suggest to keep Excedrin in your purse during testing season, keep track of your data and make your copies early (just in case the copy machine gets overloaded & stops working).  Personally, I would highly suggest a pedicure, a new haircut and making sure you keep a plug-in with a pleasant smell in your classroom!  The last one might sound strange, but it does make a difference when you feel like you live in your classroom. 


  1. We right in the throws of testing now. I love the idea of working in pairs to complete test prep activities. Scoot is a favorite for kids. I'll keep these in mind when preparing nest year.

    Thanks for the pep talk. We can do this! :) Wendy

  2. These are all great tips! I especially like the last few and definitely agree it's a mega-stress situation. Heck, my middle son was born on a Tuesday during testing week because that Monday stressed us both out apparently!
    :) Erin

  3. We have been over-tested this year with end of quarter testing each quarter. It is way too much! I love brain breaks! Last year our fourth grade teacher did Zumba with her class before each test. Amazingly, they performed better than the rest of the school! And peppermint is wonderful!! It also helps teachers when they have indigestion from too much testing!

    Thanks for the great ideas!

    Reading Toward the Stars

  4. Great ideas! I just discovered Go Noodle for fun brain breaks and calming breaks to relieve stress. Lavender essential oil is also very calming, if you have a diffuser. Thanks for sharing great tips! Lauren