When I first read this article last winter, I knew it was good stuff. I couldn’t wait to share it with students at my school who were getting ready for another round of FCAT and EOC testing (Florida’s Comprehensive Assessment Test and End-of-Course exams). It doesn’t matter which state you’re in, you know the kinds of tests I’m talking about—and those of you who teach high school, especially, know the stress these tests put on so many of our students.
Last year, we read and talked about the article and tried our hand at some of the strategies outlined in the text. This year, I decided we could make it into a reading exercise as well and get some practice with solid informational text while learning how to cope with the anxiety and stress of standardized testing.
Juniors at my school took the ACT today; I was cleaning up my office and putting away file folders that had accumulated on my desk—one of which was this activity. I’ve been working with juniors in intensive reading classes for the last month on practice for the ACT. Last week, I went back to their classes to do a little pep talk and share some strategies for relaxing and focusing during the nearly five-hour test. As soon as I picked up this file, thinking about the testing season ahead of us all, I realized that I should share this lesson with other teachers, too! So, here it is! I hope you and your students will find it as beneficial as we have at my school.
NOTE: This lesson plan DOES NOT include the article. You should locate a copy of the article before you purchase to be sure you can use this lesson.
Here is the citation for the article:
Paul, Annie Murphy. "Relax, It's Only a Test." Time 11 Feb. 2013.: 42-45.
If your media center subscribes to Time, they may still have the hard copy. If you subscribe to Time, you can access the full text through their website at this link: http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2135124,00.html
There is also a way for nonsubscribers to pay for digital access from this site, which would allow you access to this article (and all of Time) for the period of your subscription (weekly, monthly, or yearly).
On March 18, 2014, I searched the internet and found a copy of the full-text at this link:
I was also able to access the full-text of the article in the EBSCO database through the library. Talk to your media specialist or a public librarian if you are unable to find the article on your own; they should be able to help you find it.