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Testing Success: Learning to Control Your Anxiety
Written by: Sandra Moenssens
Teachers, counselors, or students may prepare for testing by utilizing the book either in a group setting or individually. The strategies in this valuable book teaches students: how to monitor negative self-talk, use deep breathing techniques, apply visualizations, prepare their bodies for the demands of testing, and gives tips on handling the actual test. . These techniques are meant to be experienced–not just read–so make sure the students do the activities and exercises that go along with the techniques. Encourage the students to practice each technique a few times before deciding which techniques work best for them. Then, encourage them to discover some of their own techniques as well. At the end of the story there is a useful test so that effective techniques can be applied and practiced immediately. This book will ensure lasting success for many tests to come to all who read it!
Illustrated by: Matthew Mercer
Testing Success: Learning to Control Your Anxiety is beautifully illustrated by Mathew Mercer a well known artist that made the book warm, inviting, and easy for students to relate to with his use of vibrant colors and today’s in-style clothing. Students of all ages and from a variety of backgrounds easily follow the two main characters on their journey to find a way to overcome their own unique form of test anxiety.
The next day, Sophia changed into her P.E. clothes as fast as lightning and ran over to Mrs. Parks. She told her how she feels physically sick when she is under pressure of taking a test.
She went on to explain that she feels this way just thinking about the test or studying for it. Then, Sophia asked Mrs. Parks what kind of advice she could give her so she wouldn’t feel so nervous and sick.
About the Illustrator
Matthew Vaden Mercer has been an artist for over 28 years. His artwork is displayed in the homes of over 30,000 satisfied guests. Matthew’s training from Disney’s Caricature Connection has helped him develop into an experienced caricaturist, muralist, cartoonist, storyboard artist, landscape and character development artist, interior design artist, author, fashion designer, illustrator and stylist.
As an Air Force brat, Matthew has traveled to California, North Carolina, New York, and Virginia, and to Turkey, Spain and Jamaica as a foreign missionary. Seeing so many diverse countries, cultures, races, classes and faces taught Matthew to love people based on their deeds in life and not the color of their skin.He is currently a fashion design instructor and advisor at the International Academy of Design and Technology in Orlando, Florida.
Matthew is thankful for his family and he uses them for his inspiration. Matthew V. Mercer will be producing inspiring and educational art for many years to come.
I Am A Bear Relaxation Technique
Adapted from Maureen Murdock’s Spinning Inwards.
In Play in Family Therapy
This technique can be used by teachers to help their students focus on the strength and courage they posses to overcome their fears. This technique can be used with elementary school children to college level students. I have personally seen master-level students respond to this technique positively and enthusiastically. Some teachers will have crayons or markers available to their students to complete this exercise.
Teachers can start in a low lit room to help induce relaxation. In a soft voice read the following to your students:
I want you to close your eyes and focus your attention on your breathing. Take a deep breath in through your nose and hold it…now slowly exhale out of your mouth… again, breathe in deeply and slowly exhale. Focus on your breathing; you will become more and more relaxed with every breath. Take a deep breath in, slowly breathe out, and relax. As you continue to breathe slowly, relaxing more and more with each breath, feeling safe and content, imagine that you are on a path in a thick forest… it is very safe here, and all around you are beautiful lush trees. As you walk down the path, notice the trees, notice the foliage and notice all the different colors being illuminated by the sun’s rays coming through the trees. Smell the pine and floral around you, breathe in the scents, relaxing you even more. As you walk further into the woods, you hear the sound of water and you walk towards it. You come to a small stream. As you walk closer to the stream, you notice your reflection in the water, the wind gently blows and creates a ripple in the water, and you see your reflection start to slowly change. As the gentle wind calms and the stream is still again, you notice that instead of your face being reflected in the water, you see the reflection of a bear. This is your inner bear, your inner strength and courage. A part of you that is strong and confident. Concentrate on this reflection (pause for a few seconds here). What kind of bear is it? What color is it, what color are its eyes? Is your bear wearing anything special, any symbols that represent you? Does your bear have any special markings on it? Concentrate on it. (pause again for a few seconds).
Good, now I want you to concentrate even harder. I want you to try and feel the energy and strength of your bear. Let that feeling wash over you with every breath that you take… breathe in its strength. Take in a big deep breath and let that feeling of strength wash over you with every breath you take. As you breathe in the strength of your bear exhale any doubt that you have. Take in about 3 more breathes here, and continue to exhale your doubts. (pause for them to comply) Good. Know that your strength and courage are present with you at all times, and you can summons this feeling whenever fear is near. This bear like quality of strength that you possess can help you overcome your fears, it can help you change habits, and accomplish your goals. This strength is always with you.
Now I’m going to slowly count backwards from 5 to 1, and on 1 you will slowly open your eyes and create a picture of your bear. With each number that you hear, I want you to focus more intensely on your bear, bringing him back with you, remembering what he looked like in the stream. 5…concentrate on your bear, 4… see your bear clearly, 3… you feel strong and confident, 2… start to feel alive and awake, and 1… slowly open your eyes.
Good, now I want you to take the next the 5 minutes to draw your bear.
Teachers can use these quotes with their students to help combat negative self talk.
Instructions: Discuss with your teacher or parents what you think the quote means.
- Reach high, for the stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal. ~Pamela Vaull Starr
- You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down. ~Mary Pickford
- Doubt whom you will, but never yourself. ~Christine Bovee
- Never mistake knowledge for wisdom. One helps you make a living the other helps you make a life. ~ Sandra Carey
- You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thinking you think you cannot do. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
- Be patient with and loving with every fearful thought. Practice observing your fears as a witness, and you’ll see them dissolve. ~Wayne W. Dyer
- The greatest discovery of my generation is that man can alter his life simply by altering his attitude of mind. ~William James
- The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination.
- What lies behind us and lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson