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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Motivation for success on the ISTEP+

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Students at Forest Park Elementary enter "the brain zone" Tuesday before making their way to their respected classrooms. Teachers and staff have motivated students by helping to set personal goals and providing students with chants, and themed objects to help them focus. Kimberly Gleason Photo. [Order this photo]
ISTEP+ testing has started and the faculty and staff at all county schools are working hard to motivate students. Forest Park Elementary did its part by celebrating Motivational Week.

Third-, fourth-and fifth-grade students received special treatment for the start of ISTEP+, upon entering "the brain zone." The teachers rolled out the red carpet and welcomed students with applause.

"We had a workshop on ways to help prepare the students for testing, some of the ideas were involving a theme that the students could identify with and would help them focus," Debbie Zimmerman, Title 1 Coordinator of Forest Park Elementary, said.

The staff had a meeting and the brainstorming began.

Jenny Yocom's fifth-grade students decided their theme song "We will, we will, rock ISTEP+" was perfect for climbing the mountain for better grades. The students will have "smart stones" available to help focus.

In Jean Harris's fourth-grade class, students will be putting on their "brainy bandannas" before beginning their test. The students decided they will be playing Crazy Frog's "We are the champions."

Different classrooms have different themes, but the most prevalent one was motivation.

On Monday, students sat through a PowerPoint presentation with title song from the movie Rocky playing in the background. Secretary Jane Robbins and nurse Paula Nichols lead the students in two different cheers, and the students all received Smarties, or "smart pills" as they were called.

As students entered their classrooms, they found treats on their desks, two pencils, an eraser, bookmark, more Smarties and peppermint candies.

"The reason for giving the peppermint candy came from a workshop," Zimmerman said. "The teachers were told that along with smart teaching, careful preparation, a good night's sleep and a full stomach, peppermint candies are said to improve test performance."

The teachers have met with all students to talk to them about where their scores were in the past and then the student set personal goals that they would like to reach Zimmerman said.

"We are encouraging our students to always do their best," she said. "With the preparation, remediation, time and dedication the students and staff have put into improving our scores we know we will see growth."

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My son is a straight-A student at Forest Park. He has been coming home from school and studying to prepare for ISTEP until bedtime. His bedtime is 9:00 but he has been putting himself to bed at 8:30 to be well-rested. He came home crying last night because he says they are being tested on material that hasn't even been covered in class yet. I don't blame the teachers as I come from a family of educators. I blame the validity of the test as it seems to be testing our children on skills that should be covered at the next grade level, or at least later in the school year.

-- Posted by BrazilBillie on Wed, Mar 4, 2009, at 1:03 PM

The new I-STEP test is a disaster. I teach 5th grade and the math that is on the test is 7th or 8th grade level. The ISTA and legislature are already involved in this major error. Millions of dollars were wasted on a test that should be done away with and many students have been put through unnecessary sadness.

-- Posted by 5longyears on Wed, Mar 4, 2009, at 3:25 PM

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