Teachers the day before the state reading test

5 Things You Must Do The Day Before the State Reading Test

You did it! All those weeks of Test Prep, and now you are HERE! The day before the State Reading Test! Tomorrow, it’s Game Day, friend! It’s finally time for your hard-working students to show what they know!  

Students raising their hands to answer questions during test prep.

The last day before the Big Test is the most important day for one crucial reason. This is your last chance to cram as much review as possible until your students can’t take it anymore.

JUST KIDDING!!! That is absolutely the OPPOSITE of what you want to do! This last day is your opportunity to pump your kids up and get their confidence level through the roof, so don’t even think about Test Prep today!

You might be thinking, “If I’m not reviewing, then what am I supposed to do?” Lucky for you, I’m sharing my Super Top Secret, never-fails-to-work, ain’t-no-room-for-anxiety-here strategy for making sure my kids are excited to take the Test! Can kids BE excited to take the Test? YES! Here’s 5 things to do the day before the State Reading Test to make that happen!

1. Empower your students with Testing Confidence the day before the State Reading Test

Most kids either have a lot of anxiety coming into the Test or they just truly don’t believe that they will do well because that Test is too hard! My goal for the weeks of Test Prep is to alleviate that anxiety and to show kids that they CAN, but the day before, all of us are a little uneasy. We need a warm, fuzzy connection to each other as well as a feeling of unity. 

Teacher encouraging her students the day before the state reading test.

To accomplish this, I always started out our last class before testing with one of my famous motivational speeches! The students sat on the floor with me and I gave a few important reminders about what to expect the next day and what we have practiced over the past few weeks. I didn’t spend a bunch of time on reminders, but I did this so that I could also answer any last-minute questions my kids might have had.

After this, I reminded them how far they had come, how they had done every crazy thing I had asked them to do throughout the year, and how they were capable of completing that Test! I reminded them that the reason why we test was to see how much they had grown, and we wouldn’t know truly what they could do until they showed us.

I looked at each and every student and told them face-to-face just how insanely proud of them I was! Don’t be surprised if everyone tears up while you talk (I always did!), but showing your emotions and how deeply you believe in them proves to your students that they were worth your effort all year and they are worth their own hard work tomorrow!

2. Inspire your Students to give their BEST effort on the Test!

Watch Facing the Giants the day before the state reading test.

When Part 1 of my motivational speech was over (HA!), I shared a clip from a movie to inspire my kids to keep going and not give up before the Test is over. The “Death Crawl” scene from Facing the Giants is possibly the most inspiring scene I have ever watched.

If you feel it’s too intense, you could use some other scene from a movie where a character works really hard to achieve something. I chose this one because it truly illustrates the points I wanted to make.

The scene shows a high school football player not believing his team can beat their rival. Coach doesn’t like his defeatist attitude and asks him to “death crawl” down the field with another player on his back. Brock says he could IF he didn’t have another player on his back. Coach says he can and blindfolds him so Brock won’t quit when he sees the finish line. Brock ends up death crawling the entire length of the field because he kept going!!

How I used this clip with my students

We watched it one time without comment, and then I played it a second time and paused when I wanted to interject a thought. There are so many lessons in this one clip!

A goal post is a great testing analogy to remind students not to give up.
  • Attitude affects ability– Brock didn’t think they could beat their rival or that he could go to the 50-yard line with someone on his back.
  • Don’t quit when tasks get hard– Brock wanted to quit when his arms hurt and crawling got difficult.
  • You can do more than you think you are capable of– Brock thought 30 yards was good, but he was really capable of crawling the whole field!
  • Give your best until the end– Brock only stopped when he physically couldn’t crawl any longer.

My kids were blown away by this clip! They finally “saw” what I had been saying about being able to do more than they thought they could! They finally “saw” what I had been saying about negatively thinking “they can’t” will cause them to not work as hard! And they finally “saw” that by giving their best until the end, they will finish strong instead of giving up halfway through or near the end! Truly inspiring!

3. The Day before the State Reading Test is the time to get LOUD!

Kids outside blowing off steam the day before the state reading test.

Then it was time for Part 3 of my Motivational Speech, but really it’s not just me that did the talking. The students got to add their voices (as loudly as possible)!

I led my students outside to an area far enough away from any classrooms we might disturb. We made a huge circle with plenty of room for everyone to stretch out and announced that we were going to pump up each student with a special Testing Cheer!

It was time to get crazy and LOUD!

Each student got a turn to step forward into the circle to be “in the spotlight”. Once inside the circle, the student free style danced while everyone yelled this cheer in their honor! The purpose of this cheer was to be as loud and excited as possible while encouraging each student! The words are below:

Lyrics to Who Rocks the test will pump kids up for the state reading test.

Because each student got a turn to be cheered for by their classmates, everyone felt a huge boost in their confidence. And it was AWESOME! Fair warning though, you will be hoarse by the end of it, so drink plenty of water!

The act of walking outside, screaming for their friends, and having their friends scream for them is so crazy stress relieving! When we got back inside, my kids were ready to take that Test right then and there!!

4. Bust Test Anxiety with Stress-free Fun!

With whatever time I had left on the day before the State Reading Test, I kept it light and stress-free! If you want to give your students some free time with board games, do that!

Students dancing to relieve stress the day before the state reading test.

Have a dance party with Just Dance songs on YouTube! Our favorites were Dynamite by Taio Cruz and I Gotta Feeling by The Black Eyed Peas!

Color some growth mindset pages with soft relaxing music playing in the background!

If you want to keep Testing at the forefront of their minds, make “testing bracelets” out of pony beads and yarn! Use certain colors of beads to represent focus, love, hard work, growth, or some other special message.

Wear the bracelets during testing as a show of unity and a way to “communicate” that you are there for each other!

How about some stress-free drawing? Grab some plain paper and have students draw a picture of how they plan to “destroy” the Test tomorrow! I’ve seen tests destroyed by lawnmowers, blown up with dynamite, and flushed down the toilet! My students always loved these pictures!

Try these fun Testing Activities!

If you would like print-and-go activities that combine several anxiety-busting ideas into one resource, then check this out! My “Make it Through Testing” State Testing Survival Pack for Student Motivation and Encouragement!

Just a few of the activities included in this pack are:

TPT State Testing resources to help students overcome testing anxiety.
  • A “Letter to The Test” where students can tell the Test just what they think of it!
  • A Testing Themed Word Search that has a fun “trick” students must figure out!
  • 10 Coloring Pages with Motivational Testing Phrases! 
  • Motivational Testing Phrase Coloring Book Marks
  • Testing Advice page where students share their tips on how to survive Testing!

However you choose to end the day before the State Reading Test, keep things low-key and positive! When your students leave for the day, you will know that you did everything you could possibly do to prepare them for what’s to come. The rest is up to them!

5. Celebrate Testing Day!

Now that your students have gone home, the real work begins!

Write motivational sayings in chalk on the sidewalk.

On the sidewalk outside of the school, use sidewalk chalk to write encouraging messages for your students to see walking into the school.

Roll out the red carpet (literally- with red butcher paper on the floor!) for your little Testing Superstars!

Hang Testing Banners made from the motivational coloring pages your kids colored across the hallway (and streamers too!). Posters made by younger grade levels and teachers can be hung up too!

Place encouraging Testing Notes from your and their parents on their desks- ready to give calming reassurance when your students read them in the morning (along with a big, fat hug!)!

Let me know if these ideas on what to do the day before State Testing have been helpful (or maybe even inspired some new ideas of your own!). Good Luck, Teacher Friend! I am thinking about you and hoping for some great results from all of your hard work this year!

Pin these Ideas on what to do the Day before the Reading Test!

Are you excited about pumping your kids up for the big End of Grade Reading Test? Save the ideas from this post for later by pinning it to your favorite Teaching Pinterest Board!

Pinterest Pin Day before Testing Activities

If you ever need me, I’m here for you! Teacher Sparkle always grows when it has other Teacher Sparkle to bounce ideas off of! ❤️

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