What's worse, it's starting younger and younger; we've been hearing about children as young as 6 feeling stressed over exams and tests in recent years. It's extremely alarming. While we can't do much about our students having to sit these tests, we can do little things to help them ease their stresses.
In 2014, I began designing quote colouring pages to give to my students around exam / testing season and I found it had some really wonderful, positive effects on their emotional and mental wellbeing. Since then, my idea has boomed in popularity and I'm thrilled that more and more students around the world are benefiting! Here are some ways you can help your students to not stress the test:
So why colouring? It's an underrated activity that has lots of positive effects on the brain. You can learn all about it here: www.quotecolouringpages.com
There have been studies that prove that colouring is said to calm the amygdala, the part of the brain related to the fear/stress response, while stimulating the parts of the brain responsible for creativity and logic. Colouring also has intellectual benefits too! It utilises the frontal lobes of the brain which enhances focus and relaxation and can help with organisational and problem solving skills.
So it's definitely not just a "fluffy", "useless", "waste of time" activity. You really are helping your students by giving them opportunities to relax and colour in. What's even better, is that all these "don't stress the test" colouring pages I designed, are full of inspirational quotes that will motivate and encourage your students during testing season.
They are incredibly easy to use and you have a wide range of pages and quotes to choose from. I have a whole stash photocopied and kept in my classroom for emergencies (they make especially great indoor recess / break time activities!).
You can take some time during your morning meetings, or add 10 minutes of relaxation time before a test where your students can colour these in with some calming music on in the background to help get them in the right frame of mind and ease that test stress.
They are also incredibly effective as post test activities for early finishers. It keeps students busy in a positive way, and the pages they colour in can be used as classroom decor to help motivate other students too!
Once coloured in, you'll find these make superb classroom decor. Having these on display around your classroom make for inspirational encouragement during test taking, especially if you have to cover all your usual bulletin boards and classroom displays, which is pretty depressing..!
Some students have chosen to keep their posters on their desks as personal motivation; the mini colouring affirmations mentioned below are ideal for that!
And some schools have been decorating their corridors with the posters to help inspire the whole school community! Check out these testimonials from other teachers who use these pages (I love that one teacher has used this as a "celebration" too - what an amazing mindset!):
These quote colouring pages can go beyond helping individual students with their stress: they can also help bring the whole school community together!
With testing, everyone is in the same boat and just knowing everyone has each others' back makes it that much easier for young people to deal with.
Check out some of the ways these teachers have spread the love using these "don't stress the test" colouring pages:
If you want to take it up a notch, I have also created these smaller versions that are affirmation specific. These are especially effective as they have quality questions at the back that help affirm the positive quote rather than just hope it will eventually be believed by osmosis! If you want to learn more about how that works, you can check out this article: Why affirmations haven't worked for you and the key step you're missing.
These mini quote colouring cards are ideal for when you have less time to colour them in, or if your students want to keep the finished cards in their wallets, pencil cases or visible on the desk while they're taking their tests!
Myself and thousands of other teachers who have used these "don't stress the test colouring pages", can agree that these are a positive step in the right direction in helping ease test stress. We cannot eradicate the tests yet, but we sure can show our students we care about them and are behind them all the way, cheering them on. Best of luck to your students this testing season and may the "Resource Force" be with them if you use these in your lessons too!