Monday, May 4, 2009

Boost Your Child's Test Scores

I saw these on a teacher's desk when I was helping proctor the TCAP (Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program) Achievement Tests a few weeks ago:

1. The breakfast for better grades- instant oatmeal helps you to have better spatial memory.

2. Visualization that calms nerves: Tell child to imagine their favorite place if they get frazzled during test. Visualizing something calm and happy triggers the brain to produce relaxing alpha waves in less than 30 seconds, slowing heart rate and breathing.

3. The finger game that beats brain freeze! If your child goes blank during the test, tell him to draw a spiral on scratch paper and trace it with his finger 5 times. Freezing during a test is due to the "fight or flight" response, a biological reaction that shuts off clear thinking. But focusing on something else- especially a spiral- clears the head!

4. The eye move that triggers memory instantly! Your child studied the facts but suddently can't remember them? Teach him to move his eyes back and forth from left to right several times. This stimulates communication between the two sides of the brain -the logical left and creative right- so your child will have better recall and be able to solve problems more easily.

5. The tongue trick for better concentration! Does your child find it hard to concentrate during a test? Have her place her tongue up against the roof of her mouth and breathe deeply three times. Brain scans show this simple movement affects the brain's limbic system, which is responsible for feelings and emotions, and triggers the release of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin, so she'll have less anxiety. And within 30 seconds, her mind should be clearer.

I don't know that I'll ever remember to tell my kids these and am still a bit skeptical about the effectiveness of some.

I had a history teacher that passed out Tootsie Roll pops every time he gave us a test. I think it helped me relax. I noticed teachers handing out pieces of gum during the TCAP. I think having something to chew on can help relax you and give you an outlet for stress.

How about a pack of Smarties for each kid with a note:
Be a "Smartie"! Do your best on your test.

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