The day before the big test, I gather my students on the rug give them a pep talk. Not a "you better do this" kind of pep talk, but an "I'm proud of you, you've worked hard, you've got this" kind of pep talk. I don't want them stressed. I want them confident in their abilities and relaxed. I tell them that they have important homework tonight--to go outside and play, eat dinner, and get some rest. At the end of our chat, I give each kiddo a treat. This year, I placed a small plastic diamond in each of their hands and told each one to "Shine bright like a diamond." They laughed because it's cheesy, I know, but they loved it and were so excited when they got THEIR diamond. It was a fun, and hopefully memorable, experience letting them know that I believe in them and know they will do their best.
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--The Pensive Sloth