Author - Amanda Bennett

Dealing with Anxiety about State Testing in Elementary Schools [Infographic]

Mrs. Scott stood at the front of the classroom explaining that we would be taking a test, one that all the students in the first grade would be taking. It was very important that we take the test seriously and to not look at our neighbor’s paper. Our easy-going, reserved young teacher radiated an unusual seriousness as she held a thick stack of assessments in her arms.

Shortly after the tests were handed out, tears fell from one of my classmate’s cheeks. Then she turned to throw up on the carpet next to her desk. The room erupted in chaos, tests forgotten, and Mrs. Scott ushered us into the hallway. She knelt down to talk to the crying little girl, and word quickly spread that our classmate had been so nervous about the test that she got sick.

That was in the early 1990s, and the frequency and pressure of assessments has ratcheted up exponentially since; however, there are ways to ease test anxiety at home and in the classroom to help prepare young students for assessments. Most states start standardized testing in elementary schools as early as third grade, so preparation for students in K–2 is important.

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Keeping Students Engaged During Winter Break

Winter break is fast upon us, and as the weather cools, our students are looking forward to free time away from the classroom. Summertime brings on the phenomenon known as the summer slide where students can lose much of what they’ve learned in the previous school year. While winter break isn’t nearly as long as summer break, keeping students engaged and learning outside the classroom is still important. Read More

Phonics Really Did Work For Me: How Early Reading Intervention Changed My Life

Some people have hazy memories of their elementary school days, and others have early memories seared into their brains, hills and valleys on the topography of their lives.

I encountered one such valley in 1991. I sat in my parents’ bedroom reading aloud to them from one of my first grade schoolbooks. I was so proud to demonstrate my new skills, eagerly anticipating their admiration and praise. There were only a few lines of text per page; colorful drawings dominated each spread of the little hardback book.

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