As a teacher, I have realized over the years that my students are loud, rowdy, and rambunctious after taking a test. I believe this comes from being stressed and quiet during the test as well as feeling relieved once the test is over. I was talking with other teachers who have experienced this same issue, which made me realize that this is a universal issue that must have a solution.
Since this is a situation that all teachers would like to avoid while they have other students still testing, I began researching and developed several quiet activities for after testing, which I will gladly be sharing with my readers. I will also be sharing strategies that may help reduce your students’ test anxiety as I have a handful of students in each of my classes that experience a high amount of test anxiety.
If you have students who are slower working compared to others, I will also address that. I look forward to helping other teachers find solutions to these common issues because our students’ needs are our number one priority, and we need to ensure that our in-person and online classrooms are good environments for everyone before, during, and after tests.
After reading this article, you will officially know:
- Helpful strategies that may be able to reduce your students’ test anxiety
- Several quiet activities for your students to participate in after testing
- A few strategies to help your slow-working students
7 Strategies that May Help Reduce Your Students’ Test Anxiety
It is not uncommon for students’ emotions to be high as well as their stress levels on exam day. Teachers have seen this many times throughout the years and have not known how to address it. For starters, it does not necessarily mean that the student is unprepared; some students are overthinkers, second guess themselves, or simply do not do well with tests. Therefore, it is our job to let them know that it is OK to take their time and give them a quiet space to focus. There are also a few strategies that you can do to go the extra mile to help reduce your students’ test anxiety. I will go over these strategies below.
1. Do a Review Game before the Test
Some students may need a refresher. By playing a game, you are reviewing what the test is on which may boost their confidence and knowledge.
2. Help Them Begin Studying a Few Days Before the Test
It can become a routine to help your students begin studying a few days before the test. That way, you will know that every student has had the chance to study, and you can help them with any questions that they may have.
3. Ask the Student if They Need Help When Testing
Of course, you cannot help too much during a test. However, sometimes students simply need to hear questions read out loud to comprehend what the test is asking. By providing this type of help, you could be helping out certain students who are auditory learners.
4. Go Over Relaxation Techniques Before the Test
Students need to stay calm and relaxed before their tests. This is easier said than done, but you can help them by showing them relaxation techniques. You can stand in front of the classroom or webcam and show them specific relaxation techniques and have them copy what you did. Deep breathing, stretches, closing your eyes, and relaxing your muscles are top relaxation techniques to do with your students.
5. Play a Game Giving Positive Compliments Before the Test
Go around the classroom and have each person say something positive about one of their classmates. By the end of the game, each student should have had at least one positive compliment mentioned about them. This will boost their confidence and help them experience positive thinking before beginning the test.
6. Make Sure Everyone Has Eaten Before Beginning the Test
Eating and drinking before a test is very important because your mind needs these necessities to function to the best of its ability. Therefore, you should make sure that every single student has had something to eat or drink before beginning their test.
7. Keep Everyone Who Finishes Quiet and Do Not Let Anyone Distract the Students Still Testing
Those with test anxiety may take longer to finish their tests. So, you should make sure that they have no distractions or any noise while they finish. If they see others moving around and making noises, it may increase their stress and anxiety.
If you have a student who is having trouble staying calm during a test, show them Learn Law Better’s YouTube video. He gives you 12 different tips on how to remain calm and reduce test anxiety, which I believe any student can benefit from. By showing them this video and going over the 12 tips before every exam, you may be able to help them improve their tests scores as well.
Another video that I recommend taking a look at is Antonio J. Webb, M.D.’s YouTube video. Throughout this short five-minute video, a doctor will help you understand the common issue affecting students at various age levels, which is test anxiety. After you have watched this video, you should have a better comprehension on how to handle this issue.
To further reduce students’ test anxiety, my advice is to record your lectures and place them in a file for your students to access. They will be able to prepare before the test with your notes and lectures that you went over in class. You may need a camera to record your lectures to do this, which I have covered in a different article.
Now, I will tell you about the special activities that have worked to keep my past and current students quiet after their tests.
15 Quiet Activities for After Testing
There will always be quick finishers when it comes to tests. Some students feel confident and breeze through their tests and exams fast, while others will take the entire class to complete their tests. Therefore, you will need to come up with ideas on how to keep the early finishers busy and quiet while others finish taking their tests. Below, I have listed a variety of quiet activities for after testing.
- Allow Silent Reading →
- Provide Coloring Pages and Markers or Crayons →
- Give Out Wordsearch and Puzzle Activities →
- Create One-Pager Projects for Students to Complete →
- Hand Out Tracing Pages →
- Do a Compliment Project →
- Have Your Students Create Cards →
- Hand Out Computers and Let Your Students Surf the Web →
- 10 Items Students Would Like to Take if They Were Stranded on an Island →
- Allow Your Students to Play with Paint, Play-Doh, or Clay →
- Show How to Build and Decorate a Kite to Fly →
- Encourage to Write a Letter to Their Future Selves →
- A Country, State, or City Presentation →
- Art Projects to Decorate Your Classroom With →
- Put Head Down and Rest for A Bit →
The objective is to not make the other students feel like they need to rush or stress because some are done or are making noise. These should help give you an idea of what type of activities will work best for your students and their needs.
If you are in an in-person classroom you can have a bookshelf full of books for the students to pick out to read silently to themselves after they are finished with their test, or you can allow them to read their own selection of books. Most students will feel burnt out after the test, so sometimes magazines or picture books are more engaging for students.
Almost all students enjoy coloring. You can provide pages with different designs on them that they can color. This is a quiet, fun activity that does not cause any mess. Be sure they have markers, crayons, or colored pencils.
Wordsearches and mystery pictures are another fun activity you should consider with your students. All they will need is a pencil, and they are ready to start searching for the word or picture.
One-pagers are unique projects where the student can express their feelings about what is happening in their lives through text and pictures. You tell them what the one-pager should be about, and they divide it into four sections in which they will draw and write about things relating to the topic of choice. It ends up being a creative outlet for the student, and they can show it off afterwards if they would like.
Tracing pages already have words written on them. My favorite type of tracing pages to use are ones that have positive sentences. The student will trace the sentences while reading the positive affirmations to themselves. It is a good way to get your students to calm down and relax after taking a test.
Give every student a person’s name and tell them to write down a compliment for that student. They can also write about their favorite memory with that student. After everyone is done with their tests, have them read out loud what they wrote. This will help boost each person’s self-esteem even if they may be feeling lousy after the test.
Have your students create cards for their favorite teacher, staff member, or family member. This is a nice gesture to do for someone, and the student will have fun doing it.
Since students’ brains sometimes seem fried after tests, they may rather play online games or surf the web for a bit. If you are in an in-person class, you can hand out computers. If you are online, your students will already have access to a computer.
Have each student take out a sheet of paper and come up with only 10 items that they would like to take with them if they were stranded on an island somewhere. This will get their brains thinking. Once they have thought of 10 things, you can lower the number to 5 to make it trickier.
Art is always a quiet activity that students love. Play-Doh, paint, and clay requires no noise. Therefore, your students can play with any of these things while waiting for their classmates to finish their tests.
You can provide materials to make a kite to your students. After they finish their tests, they can begin coloring and putting the kite together. Once everyone is finished testing, they can go fly their kites.
Suggest that your students write a letter to their future selves about their lives right now and what they hope to accomplish in the future. Save the letters for them and give it to them in a few years. These will be fun to reflect back on.
Give each student a certain country, state, or city to research. Tell them to write specific characteristics and facts about these places. Afterwards, they can present the facts to the class, and everyone will learn new things about new places.
Every teacher has some sort of decorations. You should suggest that your students help you decorate your classroom with their beautiful art projects. They will love seeing their creations on your walls.
Sometimes, students are too drained to do anything. If they are unable to be quiet or focus on anything else, my advice is to simply tell them to put their head down and rest for a bit. It is OK if they end up falling asleep; you can wake them as soon as everyone else is done testing.
Setting up an interactive whiteboard with activities is another unique, fun way to keep your students entertained after a test. If you would like to see a list of 10 of the best interactive whiteboards and learn more about these devices, head over to my other article by clicking here.
If the students in your class are still very noisy after tests, I suggest watching Etacude English Teachers’ YouTube video. In this video, he will go over ways to make a noisy and loud classroom quiet. It is a quick ten-minute video certainly worth watching if you are experiencing this issue and are out of ideas.
Next, let’s go over strategies to help with slow-working students.
6 Strategies to Help Slow-Working Students
Every class has a set of slow-working students. This does not mean that anything is wrong with these groups of students; it just means that they need more time and may need more guidance from their teachers. These students often need a little more help and direction, which is where you step in and help lead them to the finish line.
The following are six strategies to help your slow-working students:
- Let the Student Know That Perfect Is Not Important: A lot of perfectionists end up being slow-working students. They end up second guessing themselves and changing their answers over and over again. Make sure that you state out loud several times that being perfect is not important; most of the time the first answer that someone guesses is usually the correct answer.
- Explain Your Own Process: Before the test begins, go over your own process of what you do during a test. The student may take your advice and adopt your own process, which may help them reduce the time that they spend on the test.
- Talk Them Through the Problem or Simply Read It for Them : Some students are not good at tests. Therefore, you may need to help talk them through the problem or read it out loud to them. If they are an auditory learner, this is a normal issue that they will experience throughout their entire lives.
- If the Student is Stuck, Tell Them to Skip the Question and Come Back to It: Instead of spending so much time on one question, encourage the student to skip it and come back to it later. This will get them moving along instead of stalling on one question. The answer may come to them in a few minutes.
- Make Sure Everyone Is Quiet and Remains Patient: Do not let anyone get loud or say anything negative about the slow-working students. This only creates more stress and pressure, which may result in them shutting down and not finishing at all.
- Let Them Know That They Are Doing Great: Be sure to let the student know that they are doing great. A lot of times the student knows that others are waiting on them which may make them feel rushed. However, if you let them know that they are doing a good job, they will feel more relaxed.
Document cameras are great gadgets to keep your students engaged. Since every student has their own learning styles and methods, these tools are wonderful for those that are visual learners.
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- How to keep kids engaged in class
- Fun student activities for the testing season
Overall, I hope that this article helped you come up with several great quiet activities for after testing. As you can see, there are always solutions to help you overcome any issues or obstacles in your classroom. My goal is to spread my advice to other teachers, so that we can stick together and be there for our students and their unique learning needs. Good luck and happy teaching!