Not to be dramatic or anything, but statewide testing in special education can be ROOOUUUUGGGHHHHHHH! 😫

I’ve had tears.

I’ve had comments like, “Well, you know I can’t read.”

I’ve had kids who rush because they know they don’t have a prayer.

It is seriously my LEAST favorite time of year.

But last year, I decided that I was going to do things a little differently. I would do everything I could do make it a positive experience; for them and for the adults in the room.

Desk Pets

I started with a bribe. I didn’t know if they would be too old for these desk pets, but they loved them!

Each day, they were able to earn tickets. On Friday, they could use their tickets to buy a desk pet. This year, I added reminders for students of how we will earn desk pets by writing the criteria on the board. I asked them to take their time, use their scratch paper, and use the text to speech feature.

Positive Notes

I also wanted to really bring the positive energy. I wrote each of my students notes of encouragement to read each day before the test.

This year, I ramped it up and notch and asked for parents to write a note to their student too. These were a surprise for them on the first day of testing.

Scratch Paper

Why not add a positive message to your students’ scrap paper? I just used a marker to write a positive message and then made copies. This year, I did it on colored paper because…why not?!

Testing Snacks

While your students may dread testing, they do NOT dread eating yummy snacks. You can always choose something healthier, but I want to make sure that students aren’t sitting there with empty bellies while we test.

These big bags of cereal are cheap and go a long way. I like to use coffee filters to serve them rather than paper towels or napkins because they keep the cereal contained.

Positive Posters

I taped these posters all over the room. They were on the board in the front of the room, the doors, the back wall. Everywhere!

I found them on TpT. They can also double as coloring pages, so they would also be great to copy for students who finish early and need to sit quietly while they wait.