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The 180 Blog Apr 28, 2017

Celebrating, Instead of Stressing, About Testing

It’s that time of year. Schools around the country are in testing mode. And for many, testing means high stakes and high stress for everyone involved. But for our school partner, Young Voices Academy of the Bronx, testing means something more. Young Voices is determined to celebrate, not stress over the exams.  The day before their first three-day testing period began, Young Voices hosted a schoolwide pep rally to cheer on its the third graders.

As students filtered into the gym, Principal Nadia Cruz-Perez distributed t-shirts that read, “Excellence is in me,” grounded in the school’s motto.

The pep rally began with a motivational speech by Principal Cruz-Perez.

Then students rotated between stations filled with team-building activities, including marshmallow-spaghetti towers, hula hoop pass through and balloon toss.

Students later enjoyed a special video. Each class, pre-K through second grade, created a message to boost the confidence of the third graders. Their words of encouragement reflect the growth mindset curriculum Turnaround for Children taught this year. The video also reminded students that the brain is like a muscle; it gets stronger when embracing challenges.

The pep rally concluded with a showering of balloons, each with a third-grader’s name on it. When students found their balloons, there was a growth mindset message inside to remind them of what they could achieve.

At the end of the day, students left their t-shirts on their desks so they would have them to wear during testing, and when they arrived the next morning, they found notes of encouragement on their desks from teachers and staff.

How do you psych your students up for testing? Share your ideas @Turnaround #The180.

Photos courtesy of our amazing Turnaround team at Young Voices – Ronni Gambardella, Amy Greenbaum Strauss and Meredith Houff.