To get my students "geared up" for our state assessments, the ISAT, I transform our classroom into an ISAT Bootcamp for the month before the test. I found some great decorations from Factory Card Outlet!

I made each of my students dog tags when they "enlisted." I used 8 1/2 x 11" silver cardstock that I found in the scrapbooking section at Michael's and just ran it through the copier.One of the tags said "ISAT BOOTCAMP: 2008" and the other side had the student's name on it. The kids went CRAZY for these! They LOVED them!



I make sure I take time to teach my students relaxation strategies, stretches they can do before or after a testing session to relieve stress, as well as test taking strategies and tips. I put all of this information into a "manual" for the students.

Relaxation Scripts

I hang up a countdown sign on the wall. I write the numbers on post-it notes and take down a number each day.


Read the book, The Biggest Test in the Universe, with the class!

I got some great ideas from my friends at

*Do some "drills"... the students could run through hula hoops (like tires) with math facts written on the inside!

*Soldiers earn stripes for different ranks, right? Maybe each time the students show proficiency on something, they could get a stripe!

*Introduce brain gym exercises to chill the kids out!

*Give them peppermint candy or gum the day of the test and tell them it is brain food - peppermint has been proven to ease stress and keep people more alert.

*Give the students helps them focus!

*I share research with the kids that shows if they eat fish before the tests, they will score better (They all get rather nervous, imagining that I am about to serve them smoked salmon and pickled herring!) and then I give them Swedish fish candies. I also give them a mint because I find mints "wake them up." After the tests, parents provide yummy snacks and we have extra recess. I give absolutely no homework the week of the big tests.

ISAT Bootcamp Chant

Test Prep Songs

Take Out Your No. 2 Pencils: Taking the Stress Out of Standardized Tests


Standardized Testing

Measurement Hunt - I use this activity for practice using the "ISAT rulers"

Good Luck Tag - I attach this to a bag of Lucky Charms to pass out to each student before ISAT testing begins.

ISAT letter - sent home to parents the week before the big test begins

Test-Taking Strategies

Effective Study and Test-Taking Strategies for Kids with Learning Difficulties

Grade Level Skills Help Pages

Subject Area Interactive Lessons

Testing Treats - ProTeacher discussion thread

ISAT Test Motivation Theme - ProTeacher discussion thread

ISAT online practice

Brain Pop Movie - Test Preparation

Brain Pop Movie - Test-Taking Skills

Brain Gym with Sharon Gelber
Brain Gym


Brain Gym Website

Sample Brain Gym Exercises

Brain Gym Packet

Brain Stretches

Extended Response

Reading Street Extended Response Questions

This site created and maintained by Kirsten Van Dyke.

Last updated on August 14, 2013

Background and Graphics by: