State testing is coming up next month in Maryland.  My school has a variety of motivators for the students but they haven't changed in the past few years.  Have you found anything that works well?

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Hi Kate, 

My school does a staff vs students volleyball game after testing is concluded.  We spend an afternoon playing volleyball vs  the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students.  The kids and adults always seem to have a blast!  In order to participate, we use a simple sticker chart for each day of MSA.  We give the students a sticker for being on time; a sticker for having 2 sharpened pencils; and a sticker for giving their best effort.  They need 10 stickers out of 12 stickers to participate in the volleyball game. (Most every student participates unless there was a major issue...)  We've done this for about 5 years now and it seems to be motivating to the students.  

I'm interested in hearing other peoples ideas on this!  Good topic:) 


Great idea Wes, thanks!!  We were also awarded as a wellness school, that would hit 2 birds with one stone.

I brought up this idea to my administration, but unfortunately they didn't think it was a good idea.  They thought our school was too big and faculty too competitive. :(

Kate, I can't believe that your school can't do it because staff is too competitive! CRAZY! If they don't want to do it at a school level, do it as a grade level. I think that having physical activities after such a grueling test schedule is a great way to blow off that steam. Even if it isn't a tug of war thing, maybe something like what Kathy mentioned below, an Olympics type thing where they complete different "events". Maybe the PE teacher can give some ideas. 

During state testing we have to cover up all of the resource posters on our classroom walls- I like to paint my paper with inspirational messages, like "Do your best on the test!"  "Show what you know"  "Ms. Miller's Magnificent 4th Graders"  it helps the kids see that I care and make our classroom look less boring and less "construction work zone" with all of the paper on everything during testing.  As a school we have a pep rally, hand out cool pencils, and have grade level celebrations at the end of testing- like a picnic outside. 

I really like making the construction paper into posters!!  I never thought of that, it usually looks like a war zone.  Maybe the kids could brainstorm and create their own posters too!


We are a middle school and use the testing time to do integrated activities. Typically we finish testing for the day by around 10:30 or 11:00.  That leaves the rest of the day for fun, creative, educational stuff.  My personal favorite was one team did all kinds of forensics activities - speakers (officers, judges), labs, a mystery, a police car skid in the parking lot and the kids measured the skid and math and science concepts were applied.  Another team did citizenship activities.  They Skyped with a person involved with the cleanup after the Haitian earthquake, and had activities throughout the week to raise money for the cause.  Other teams have done the Olympics.  Some are more "scattered" with their activities, but they are off the regular curriculum none-the-less.  Since starting this a couple years ago, we have some of the best attendance numbers during that week! 

Have fun!


Great idea, I like how they are moving around and using many different resources!  My science students would love this.

Our school gives up to 3 final test passes, if the student gets the same percentage or above from last year. It has helped to have them put more effort and not just checking out anything.

What does your school do? Our school used to have an assembly and then our guidance counselor came up a rap song called Test test baby, baby got test.
That is really a cool idea.

Give out fun little snacks and fun pencils. I think it is nice for them to see a little change in the room by putting up encouraging posters. At the end, have a field day type activity that will be fun for the students and teachers - tug of war could be fun!



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