To prepare students, we do several things. One thing we try to do is "demystify" the test itself. We give a practice, mock CRCT. This gives students an idea of what the test will look like as far as formatting goes.
We also read several books and watch several videos about standardized test taking. My absolute favorite is the book The Biggest Test in the Universe by Nancy Poydar. I love all of the books below as well!
I love using the book The Biggest Test in the Universe as a springboard for discussion with my students. This book was a featured book on Reading Rainbow. Lucky for us, it is a Reading Rainbow episode that is located on United Streaming!
After we read/ watch this book we talk about the story line and what we notice. Then we talk about how we can help ourselves relax: eating a peppermint when we get nervous, taking a deep breath and counting to ten, eliminating answers that are silly and don't make any sense, doing our personal best, etc.
Another thing that our grade level does is leave sweet little love notes out for the children each day. On each child's desk each morning, there is a piece of candy with an encouraging note attached. Since the CRCT is a special event, they actually get to eat the candy then if they choose. I know you are thinking "sugar crash," but it usually isn't enough to affect the students (promise).
The last thing we do for students is give them a VERY simple reading passage. We ask students to read the passage and practice the test taking skills we have taught. Then we give the students a red pen (or marker) and ask students to grade it. I have yet to have a student bomb it! Usually I give this the day before the reading portion of the test (which is high stakes) and use this opportunity
Testing is on its way. Hopefully my students feel like they can be successful. Whew. Deep breath... and we are off!