4 reasons my kids love FCAT week
Once again, students embarking on FCAT week on Monday can stop in for a free McDonald’s breakfast at any of the fast-food chain’s locations in the Tampa Bay area and it's really not a bad choice for test week: An Egg McMuffin, apple slices and a choice of milk or a small orange juice. The offer is for in-store only and there are no substitutions. It is good only on Monday from 6 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., while supplies last. The student must be present to receive the breakfast and those under 15 must be accompanied by a parent.
But that's not the only reason my kids love FCAT week and why it breaks my heart when I see kids stressing out over this high-stakes test. Teachers' stress I can understand, but I hate that it filters down to the kids. Here are some tips on the three ways you can help your kids do their best, but it boils down to three things: the right breakfast, sleep and relax.
With that foundation, here's the 4 reasons why my kids love a week of taking a test:
No homework: The schools also suspend any ongoing projects, reading logs or practices too. With the free time, we like to take advantage of the longer hours of daylight and ride bikes, start a game of kickball in the neighborhood or visit a playground. (There's a method to my madness here, exercise is the very best brain food you can give a kid. It also helps them sleep better)
Recess returns: A sad fact of this test taking world we live in is teachers are pressed for time to cram in practice sheets and drills, so recess has been squeezed out. The veteran teachers know that it's worth it to make some time to let the kids run around and clear the cobwebs, but it's not a daily thing anymore. Not so for FCAT week.
Snacks: Who doesn't love snacks? They come out for test week and teachers let kids bring their favorites from home to fuel up. Send in a snack for your child. Or even better, help the teacher out and send in some snacks for the class for the middle of the morning such as apples, whole grain crackers, nuts and cheese snacks (rather than sugary treats or white-flour crackers).
School life gets easier: After FCAT week, you can almost feel the whole school exhale. All the art and science or history projects that weren't part of the test's scope get indulged.
If you have a nervous test taker, try to focus on these positives and plan some family time outside each night.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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