With the increasing amount of testing that has been introduced to the educational system, students and educators alike are feeling more pressure around test performance and student outcomes. It is ever more important that we train students for test taking success. While effective instruction is essential, it is equally important that we help students to train their brains so they can easily show what they know. Relaxation activities are an excellent way to prime student mind’s for test taking while simultaneously strengthening their abilities to relax the mind and body at will. Here I introduce the Relaxation Gym Workout One for test taking. Please check back later this week to see several more test taking workouts!
A calm mind is fertile soil for learning. Preparing the mind for test taking is as important as taking the test itself. The more prepared, relaxed, calm and focused, the mind is, the easier it is for students to demonstrate what they know on the test. Test taking is an excellent opportunity for educators to practice relaxation techniques and strengthen student awareness around their own ability to relax the body and calm the mind in order to maximize their own learning. We can approach test taking preparation by inviting students to visit the Relaxation Gym. In this gym they become the personal trainers for their own minds. The mind, just like muscles in our body, can be trained for increased success and positive experience. Just like you would train for a swim meet, you can also train your brain for test taking success.
Imagination Workout: Engage the Imagination and Visualize Success
Creative visualization is often defined as imagining as clearly and detailed as possible what you want to happen as if it has already happened, (Gawain, 1982). Use the following guided imagery in order to teach children how to engage their imaginations to to support creating the experiences that they want.
Workout One: Imagination Workout: Train Your Brain Video
Begin by facilitating a class discussion about the results you would like to experience while taking a test. Focus on the feelings, rather than outcome. For example, we want to feel calm, relaxed and confident while taking a test. The idea is to support students in doing their best, but not to place so much emphasis on the testing outcome. The goal is to generate positive feelings around the testing experience. Remind students that if we are relaxed, calm, focused, and completing the testing questions, then we are doing our absolute best.
Relaxation Script: Train Your Brain Video
Close your eyes and relax your body. Take a deep breath in through your nose and let it slowly out through your mouth. Excellent. Now imagine a big screen in your mind. On that screen we are going to play a video of you taking a test. On the screen see your classroom and all of your classmates (detail about the classroom can be added here). Everyone is sitting quietly and relaxed at their desk. I am passing out the test. As I place it on your desk you feel very very good and relaxed. You know that you will remember just what you need to know. As you open the test booklet, you feel even better inside. You pick up your pencil and read the directions carefully, circling the important parts. Watch yourself read the questions carefully and answer the questions. You feel confident as you circle your choice. You feel very relaxed and excited to show what you know. See the movie finish as you finish your test. Feel how wonderful it is to know you did your very best work.