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peppermints before state tests?
Old 01-18-2010, 04:50 PM
 
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Does anyone give their students anything before a state test? One year, my son's teacher gave the students hershey's kisses before state testing, saying it would help them perform well. Another year, his teacher gave him peppermints for the same reason. I've searched online and see conflicting opinions. Just wondering, with testing coming up, if any of the PTers do this. Thanks!


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Old 01-18-2010, 04:55 PM
 
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I do keep a bag of starlight mints handy during testing in case a student starts to cough during the test (I figure it will work as well as a cough drop). But I never gave them out before the test to help the students do well.
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Old 01-18-2010, 04:58 PM
 
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I tried the treat thing one year and found it to be very distracting to the kids. I had to deal with rattling candy wrappers, some kids wanted a second or third one, etc. No one at my school had ever done it and the kids thought it was weird. I found no difference in their ability to perform.
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testing survival kit
Old 01-18-2010, 05:01 PM
 
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I gave my students various little "treats" each day before the tests. I asked parents to write letters of encouragement, put together small survival kits, and a few other treats. They were fun and the students really enjoyed them. Most of them included a motivational quote or reminder.
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I do this
Old 01-18-2010, 05:02 PM
 
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All of my students get peppermints during state testing. Wrappers or other distraction haven't ever been a problem; they've certainly enjoyed the treat. I don't know for sure that it's helped, but plan to distribute peppermints again this year.


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Old 01-18-2010, 05:06 PM
 
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our school gives mints, gum, snacks, and a drink to all kids for state testing.
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Gum
Old 01-18-2010, 05:09 PM
 
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We used to give the students gum to chew as they tested then last year we were told we were not allowed to do this because if a student got gum on the test it would invalidate it- idiots.
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Old 01-18-2010, 05:10 PM
 
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I give my students gummy bears and peppermints when they are taking their state testing. I heard chewing and sucking on something helps them think.
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I do~
Old 01-18-2010, 05:12 PM
 
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Our school makes a big thing about state testing. We have pep rallies, motivational quotes, incentives for attendance, and little treats for the kids.
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I give starlight mints before all tests...
Old 01-18-2010, 05:19 PM
 
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I read a few years back that the smell of peppermint is like a wake up refresher for the brain. In one of my brain-based learning classes, the instructor said the same thing. I also read an article about a school district that distributed peppermints before state tests for the very same reason.
I have been giving my students a mint before every classroom test (except spelling) for several years now. I don't have any data that says it gives them an edge, but I don't see the harm either. I also play music in the background. I choose something with a slow tempo to purposefully help bring the heart rates down to a more relaxed, less anxious rhythm. Some students really need the external cues at this age. I DO see a difference in the sustained focus on tests with my students from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. I like to think that the mints and the music contribute to that to some degree.


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Treats
Old 01-18-2010, 05:23 PM
 
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Most of my kids come to school without breakfast, so I give them a continental breakfast each morning --- bagels, fruit, juice, milk --- things that will give them some energy and not too expensive on the budget.
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Old 01-18-2010, 05:25 PM
 
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give peppermints.Simply a "relaxation" mechanism and to assist with a dry mouth. Wrappers are simply placed on the desk waiting my arrival to retrieve. If it's not peppermint, it's another flavor of hard candy.
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Old 01-18-2010, 05:28 PM
 
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my school does jolly ranchers about half way through. it seems to perk up the kids. so, while the wrappers may seem distracting, it only lasts for a short period of time and gets those kids that were already losing focus a chance to refocus.

and we have one rule -- ONE per student.
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mints
Old 01-18-2010, 05:58 PM
 
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I read an article about brain-based research that said that eating peppermints before or during a test does not make test performance better.

I do however like a PP suggestion about having a continental breakfast before the test. I normally don't have to do this, though, because the majority of my students are on the free/reduced program and get breakfast anyway. I've found that the kids really respond to treats...not candy...but oranges or apple slices, crackers, that sort of thing.

No matter what you do...good luck with your testing
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Breakfast, gum and snacks
Old 01-18-2010, 06:12 PM
 
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A school I was at last year had the teachers prepare a breakfast for their class as well as give the students gum to chew during the test. After the test everyone was given a snack and drink. I think it was a little extreme... there were of course very few "thank yous" from the students.
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snacks before test
Old 01-18-2010, 06:24 PM
 
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My school asks parents to send in healthy snacks for the class to eat before testing. Last year I got raisins, goldfish and oatmeal bars.
I like the idea of fruit though so maybe I'll ask for fruit slices, apples and oranges, this year.
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:44 PM
 
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I always ask parents to send in gummy snacks. These snacks help the kids stay with the test I believe. They keep them on their desk and it gives them something to chew. I also give out a peppermint, but it goes right into the mouth and I take the wrapper. I have them keep a bottle of water below their desks to drink, but they must sit back to drink it so I ensure no spills!
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Old 01-18-2010, 07:15 PM
 
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them big red gum, peppermints, and smarties (during the breaks). Supposedly the peppermint and cinnamon stimulates their brain. I have my kids practice how to chew gum quietly before the state test. They only get to eat the other stuff when I say so. I don't know if it helps but for me it's like when I rub "good luck" onto their pencils. I have a special lotion that I only use at state testing time and I tell them that it helps me give them good luck. They know it's bogus but they love that I do it. If I miss someone they make sure to tell me. It's all psychological.
 
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I do
Old 01-18-2010, 08:25 PM
 
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I offer all kids (and sometimes siblings) the opportunity to come into the classroom for breakfast. I think I charged $3.00 per meal to cover the costs (I go overboard). It is before school and totally optional. In addition, all kids who want get Cheerios before the test starts. Then during the test they have the choice of hard candy or gum. The rule is they have to open it and throw the candy wrapper away before testing(they keep the gum wrapper to throw the gum away after). The only issue I have had is the occasional wrapper on the floor. I taught Sunday school long before I started teaching. So I had heard somewhere about giving students gum to help them concentrate. I asked my Sunday school kids about this and they said that chewing gum helped them. Like some else said, who knows if it does or doesn't help them, but if it gives them a boost of confidence then why not!
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Old 01-18-2010, 08:30 PM
 
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We give them a little baggie with two mints, a package of fruit snacks and two sticks of gum. Last year, we also gave them a mini bottle of water.

This was paid for by our district, through some special funding. We did not pay out-of-pocket for these items.
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Old 01-18-2010, 10:00 PM
 
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am in the same place as firebelly! I give my kiddos one mint before any assessment. Whether it truly helps or not- who knows? But they believe it- so it can't hurt! We call it our brain boost!
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I give peppermints, too
Old 01-18-2010, 10:46 PM
 
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I've been giving peppermints for several years, now, for any extended-time test. If it's a quiz I usually don't give the peppermints.

I don't introduce anything during a high-stakes test that my students haven't previously experienced a few times, which helps to avoid such things as asking for more of anything or making noises with the candy wrapper, etc. I establish the 'how and why' of the peppermints before I distribute them. I, also, play soft 'concentration' music. (At least that's what the cover of the CD says it is.)

A few weeks before our actual state testing window, we use our state's released test questions to develop tests that get gradually longer in order to build testing stamina. It's during these tests that I try to simulate the 'state test experience' with everything the way it needs to be during the actual state exams.
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Old 01-19-2010, 07:55 AM
 
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Our whole school does the peppermint before state tests and district benchmarks. Our reasoning also stems from brain research.
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Wow!
Old 01-19-2010, 09:25 AM
 
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I am amazed that you are all allowed to do this. Our state tests are each 4 hours long, reading, math, and science. We are not allowed to let the students have anything...no gum, no mints, no water, no snacks, no music...nada. They can go to the restroom about every 45 min. if they need to during the silent testing breaks that's it. When they finish they sit at their desks. They may not do anything except to remain still and silent until the last person finishes. No drawing, no reading, nothing.
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Old 01-19-2010, 03:24 PM
 
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WOW! Thanks for all the responses. Very interesting to see what different schools/teachers do.
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Smencils
Old 01-19-2010, 03:36 PM
 
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I read somewhere that they passed out mint scented Smencils for the students to use during testing. I don't know how scented they really are, but I've been considering purchasing some for the same reasons Firebelly stated. At least you don't have to worry about the wrappers!
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Candy
Old 01-19-2010, 03:40 PM
 
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We pass out either peppermints or Jolly Ranchers before and during the test.
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Old 01-19-2010, 04:17 PM
 
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I know a teacher who did this with her class and some of the kids played with the mints, taking them out of their mouth getting sticky fingers, dropping them on their tests. The pages ended up sticking together and making a terrible mess.
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Old 01-19-2010, 04:29 PM
 
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My school serves oj sausage biscuits to grades 3-5 in thier classrooms.
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peppermints
Old 01-19-2010, 04:47 PM
 
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I have used peppermints with my students at test time....I had several professors in college do this. They said that it gave your brain a kickstart! The kids love it!
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peppermints
Old 01-19-2010, 05:08 PM
 
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my school gives peppermints also. in my former school, the students recieved a little something to eat, because most of them did not eat breakfast. they gave pudding or cheese and crackers.
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goldfish and water
Old 01-19-2010, 07:18 PM
 
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We give goldfish and water for the testing. The kids keep them in the back of the room and are allowed to get up during the test to get some as needed. We give a practive test prior to the real test and give them the goldfish and water so they get used to it. It has never been much of a distraction. I have heard that the smell of peppermint helps stimulate the brain. We have bought peppermint scented candles and placed them on a candle warmer. Not sure if it is true or not.
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Not any more
Old 01-20-2010, 05:16 PM
 
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We used to give our students peppermints before the tests. Then last year we were told that we can't do it because it could cause the test to be invalidated if a student gets the test sticky or if they accidently drop it out of their mouth.

Please......they are not babies...and I usually give it to them in enough time so they are finished before they actually start the test and the papers are collected right away.

I have been giving these tests for 12 years now...and of those years we have been giving them peppermints for about 6 of those and never once have I ever had a problem.
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Old 01-20-2010, 06:42 PM
 
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Mints are given to students in bags with their pencils, eraser, and other items at our school. I prepare a box of kleenex with oil of peppermint essence a month before our test. There are several articles on "brain" foods that help in comprehension. No carbs before or during a test, but blueberries are a great brain food.
 
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Old 01-20-2010, 06:50 PM
 
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Our school has a zero tolerence of gum so I use straws. Every student gets 2 mints and a straw. I give them during seat assignments and during state tests.
 
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I give a treat......
Old 01-21-2010, 04:31 PM
 
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I have always given a little treat each morning of the testing BEFORE beginning the test. We would never be allowed to give them anything DURING the test!!!

I think it de-stresses them a little bit when they first get there, and we always use the restroom before testing can start, so they would be washing their hands if there was any stickiness. (But I've never had any that I can remember!)

I copy the little poems in the following attachment and put it on their desks with the treat---one day a lifesaver, one day a Smartee, one day a peppermint.

Not all the teachers do this at my school, but my kids looked forward to it each day and I never had any problems with it!
Attached Files
File Type: doc EOG Testing Treat Cards.doc (112.5 KB, 147 views)
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Old 01-21-2010, 04:49 PM
 
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salem--the cards are a very cute idea...I may just use that idea. Thanks!
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Old 01-23-2010, 07:00 PM
 
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Last year was my first year teaching. I placed a peppermint breath saver at each of their seats with a name card, pencil, and copies of the student published newspaper to read when they finished their math test. Their scores were very good. I will be doing the same thing this year.
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my school
Old 01-23-2010, 07:21 PM
 
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provides mints for the students and I provide breakfast. Usually a ham or sausage biscuit, a yogurt or cheese stick and juice (apple or orange). Then the school provides a snack either fruit or nutragrain bar and a bottle of water for after the test.

I wouldn't do the breakfast thing but I'm sorry a donut or poptart that the cafeteria serves is not good brain food to get a kid through a 2-4 hour test.
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Old 01-24-2010, 05:50 AM
 
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Like Firebelly and Breezey I give peppermints before every assessment. I started after a brain based class that said it helped students focus.

It is really very funny to hear all of us sucking on peppermints in the quiet of the classroom. I keep threatening to tape it for my class blog.
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