Stressed with Exams? Building a Toolkit for Student Anxiety
Post in News by Laura Jakubowski on 10th April 2019
It’s that time of year — the time when students are taking their elementary and middle school state tests, while high school students are looking to begin preparing for their Regents exams. For students (and their teachers!) it is an admittedly stressful time. It’s our job as teachers to help our students cope with the stress that follows when testing time is upon us. Anxiety, frustration, helplessness — you name it, your students are experiencing it. So to help, here are a few resources that can help students build a toolkit, and learn the life skill of dealing with stress.
Ever expanding, Headspace is a great app that many adults use for meditation. But did you know that they now have two new sections for kids and students? They have single guided meditations, full courses of multiple meditations, and animations that can help students contextualize their feelings to better release stressors. They even have specific meditations for feeling flustered, focus, exam prep, and feeling generally overwhelmed. If you have high school students, there’s specifically tailored courses for pre-exam and post-exam times. It’s a great new resource that I am happy to see expanding for students.
Cosmic Kids Yoga
Yoga is taking adults in New York City by storm, but there are even people who are bringing it to kids! The instructor on the Cosmic Kids Yoga YouTube channel is a bright and fun woman named Jaime. In her brief introduction video, Jaime says that she will “make your kids stronger, calmer, and wiser.” While you will ultimately be the judge of that, she does make yoga fun and introduce students to a practice that they can even try at home when they are nervous the night before a big test. Plus, the Australian accent makes kids merry, and she has yoga stories that incorporate Moana, Frozen, and Trolls!
Coping Skills for Kids: Deep Breathing Exercises
When trying to calm down, the first thing we often tell students to do is “Breathe!” To a kid, that can be confusing. “Aren’t I always breathing?” a savvy student might ask. However, the trick is to know how different types of breathing can make a student feel and ultimately help them calm down or reframe. The website Coping Skills for Kids has a great resource for this titled Deep Breathing Exercises. First, they take you through how to teach deep breathing kinesthetically with a pinwheel or bubbles to help students understand it. Then they go into further ideas, like using shapes, to explain breathing techniques. All in all, sometimes a deep, calming breath is the first line of defense against stress.
Remember, stress is a natural student reaction during testing season, and equipping students with small ways to help can keep them from acting out their stress, anxiety, or frustration in negative ways. Be sure to give a few of these a try, and let me know if you find any other resources that help you and your students!
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