May is state testing time for third, fourth and fifth graders – a time that can be stressful for students and parents alike.
To help parents support their children throughout the testing period, both Ridgeway and Manchester Township Elementary Schools recently held an NJ ASK Open House for Parents.
At Ridgeway, their NJ ASK team, consisting of Literacy Coach Michelle Nichol and teachers Jill Moore, Elaine Pate, Geri DiMarco, and Geri Szoke, presented the program to parents who attended several different sessions throughout the day.
The presenters described the testing process in detail and gave parents sample tests. They talked about the importance of reading all the questions carefully, referring back to the text for answers, showing work on math problems when asked, planning out writing assignments, and answering all the questions even if you have to use your best guess.
The teachers said that the whole atmosphere of the testing administration and the pressure of time limitations can cause students to become stressed on testing days. That is why it is important for parents to do whatever they can to reduce their child’s anxiety and prepare them for testing. Below are some of their suggestions.
Ways to help your child at home:
- Encourage reading. Your child should read for at least 20 minutes a day.
- ‘Model’ reading and writing - let your child see you doing it.
- Talk with your child about what they read. Ask questions, engage them in conversation.
- Provide a variety of print and electronic reading materials (nonfiction and fiction books, magazines, comic books, e-books, etc.).
- Have your child do ‘paired reading’ – reading a fiction and non-fiction book on the same topic.
- Encourage your child to write, have them journal every day.
- Your child should practice the process of Plan/Write/Proof. Have them use graphic organizers to plan their writing. (see sample graphic organizers)
- Try to expand their vocabulary, including math and science terms.
- Practice real world math with your child: use money with your child so they know the denominations and values; get an analog clock and practice time concepts; practice measuring with a ruler or tape measure; use cooking to practice fractions and following directions.
- Practice math facts - addition, subtraction, multiplication, division.
On test days, make the morning as calm and relaxed as
- Pick out clothes and pack the backpack the night before.
- Make sure your child has a good breakfast.
- Make sure they have a good night’s sleep.
- Remember that students who are late cannot take the test that day – they will have to wait until the make-up day.
More information is included in a brochure and slide presentation created for the workshop. These resources and more may be found on the Parents Page of the district website under NJ ASK Testing Resources for Parents.
- from the Manchester Township School District