Counseling Office
Lincoln Elementary Counseling Department

Hillary Barlow 
 JE/LE School Counselor USD 490

Please contact me if you have questions or concerns.
JE 316-322-4840
LE 316-322-4850


Counselor's Note:

Test anxiety is a kind of performance anxiety that is psychological in nature, where a person feels nervous before, during and after the exam. Anxiety is actually a very normal way of reacting to stressful situations. It is a way in which our body tries to cope up with the oncoming stress. Little anxiety actually helps one in concentrating and working hard for the exams. However, if students spend all their time in feeling anxious, lot of valuable study time would be lost.

Negative Thoughts

Some students are anxious by nature and easily get nervous when they face a stressful situation. Negative thoughts creep into the minds of such students during tests, even if they have prepared well. The fear that one will forget everything he has studied or the fear of going through a tough question paper makes him nervous. When someone indulges in negative thinking, it is likely that one forgets what he or she has studied.

Perfection Stress
Anxiety also affects people who are perfectionists and achieve high scores in every test. Such students pressurize themselves and are always tensed to gain perfect scores. This may cause anxiety as even one wrong answer can make them feel that they have done badly in the test.

Study Regularly

One of the most important factors for avoiding test anxiety is to prepare well in advance. Studying regularly for few hours everyday, from the beginning of the year helps in increasing the confidence of students.

Reduce Study Pressure

If students are not able to cope with anxiety or nervousness, they could talk to their teachers, student counselors, parents or friends. Parents should also avoid pressurizing their kids to do well. Create a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere at home, so that your children can study without any tension. Another important point that arises here is neither the students nor the parents should compare the children with their other classmates and friends.

Physical Fitness

Do not forget to eat and sleep properly. Many times due to anxiety students avoid sleep and starve themselves. They should sleep for at least 7-8 hours a day and eat nutritious and healthy food. Exercising regularly is equally important as talking to friends and socializing.
Practicing simple breathing techniques will also help reducing stress.

Students should remember that tests are just a part of life and not the end of it. While it is important to gain good scores in tests, it is not the most important thing in life. Learning to control negative thoughts and coping with nervousness and stress will not only help them to do well in school tests, but also in their future life and career.

By Deepa Kartha

Read more at Buzzle: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/test-anxiety-in-students.html



As we approach our Kansas state testing season and NWEA tests, here are some great tips for parents to help your children prepare. These tips are also great for any test!

Top Ten Test-Taking Tips for Students
1. Have a Positive Attitude
Approach the big test as you'd approach a giant jigsaw puzzle. It might be tough, but you can do it! A positive attitude goes a long way toward success.
2. Make a Plan
The week before the test, ask your teacher what the test is going to cover. Is it from the textbook only? Class notes? Can you use your calculator? If you've been absent, talk to friends about material you may have missed. Make a list of the most important topics to be covered and use that as a guide when you study. Circle items that you know will require extra time. Be sure to plan extra time to study the most challenging topics.
3. The Night Before
Cramming doesn't work. If you've followed a study plan, the night before the test you should do a quick review and get to bed early. Remember, your brain and body need sleep to function well, so don't stay up late!
4. The Morning of the Test
Did you know that you think better when you have a full stomach? So don't skip breakfast the morning of the test. Get to school early and do a ten-minute power study right before the test, so your brain is turned on and tuned up.
5. Test Time
Before the test begins, make sure you have everything you'll need - scratch paper, extra pencils, your calculator (if you're allowed to use it). Understand how the test is scored: Do you lose points for incorrect answers? Or is it better to make guesses when you're not sure of the answer? Read the instructions! You want to make sure you are marking answers correctly.
6. Manage Your Time
Scan through the test quickly before starting. Answering the easy questions first can be a time saver and a confidence builder. Plus, it saves more time in the end for you to focus on the hard stuff.
7. I'm Stuck!
Those tricky problems can knock you off balance. Don't get worried or frustrated. Reread the question to make sure you understand it, and then try to solve it the best way you know how. If you're still stuck, circle it and move on. You can come back to it later. What if you have no idea about the answer? Review your options and make the best guess you can, but only if you don't lose points for wrong answers.
8. Multiple-Choice Questions
The process of elimination can help you choose the correct answer in a multiple-choice question. Start by crossing off the answers that couldn't be right. Then spend your time focusing on the possible correct choices before selecting your answer.
9. Neatness Counts
If your 4s look like 9s, it could be a problem. Be sure that your writing is legible and that you erase your mistakes. For machine-scored tests, fill in the spaces carefully.
10. I'm Done!
Not so fast - when you complete the last item on the test, remember that you're not done yet. First, check the clock and go back to review your answers, making sure that you didn't make any careless mistakes (such as putting the right answer in the wrong place or skipping a question). Spend the last remaining minutes going over the hardest problems before you turn in your test.

Lincoln Office 316-322-4850

Jefferson Office 316-322-4840


“Absences in Early Grades Have a Big Impact on School Success”

Missing school in the early grades can have an impact throughout your child’s school years. Early grades are where students learn and master the basics. Without the strong foundation, they may face learning problems through-out their schooling. Children who miss just one day of school every two weeks in kindergarten score lower in reading, math and other knowledge at the end of first grade. They never make up the learning they missed. 

Early absences also set a pattern. Children who get in the habit of missing school early continue the pattern. They miss even more learning and the cycle continues. And studies consistently show that missing school is one of the strongest predictors of dropping out of high school. 

Please remember to take your child’s attendance seriously. If children are not in school, they can’t learn. Children should attend school everyday, unless there is an emergency or sickness. 

Source: S Sparks, “Early Grades Become the New Front in Absenteeism Wars,” Education Week, October 14, 2010, Editorial Projects in Education.


UNDERSTANDING THE DIFFERENCE (TEASING/BULLYING/PEER CONFLICT)
Teasing
Adapted from Coloroso, Barbara, The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander (2004)
Allows the teaser and teased to swap roles with ease
Is innocent in motive; NOT intended to hurt the other person
Maintains the basic dignity of everyone involved
Pokes fun in a lighthearted, clever and benigh way
Is meant to get both parties to laugh
Is a small part of the activities shared by kids who have something in common
Is discontinued when the teased becomes upset or objects to the teasing

Bullying/Taunting
Adapted from Coloroso, Barbara, The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander (2004)
Is based on an imbalance of power and is one-sided
Is sinister in motive – intended to harm
Involves humiliating, cruel, demeaning or bigoted comments thinly disguised as jokes
Includes laughter directed at the target, not with the target
Is meant to diminish the sense of self-worth of the target
Induces fear of further taunting or can be prelude to physical bullying
Continues especially when target becomes distressed or object to the taunting
Bullying
Adapted from the ABC’s of Bullying, http://pathwaysourses.samhsa.gov/bully/bully intro pg1.htm
Characteristics of bullying behavior:
•    Intent to harm – bully finds pleasure in trying to dominate
•    Intensity and duration – continues over a long period of time and is damaging to the victim’s self-esteem
•    Power of the bully – age, strength or size used to overpower the target
Effects on victim
•    Vulnerability of the victim – cannot adequately defend
•    Lack of support – target feels isolated, fears retaliation
•    Long-term consequences – damage to self-esteem is often long lasting

Peer Conflict

Adapted from the ABC’s of Bullying, http://pathwaysourses.samhsa.gov/bully/bully intro pg1.htm

Normal peer conflicts involve the following factors:
•    Freedom of expression – Peers do not insist on getting their own way
•    Willingness to communicate – Peers give reasons when they disagree
•    The relationship is valued – Peers apologize or try to find win-win situations
•    Negotiations is an option – Peers will bargain and negotiate to get their need met
•    Disengagement is an option.  Peers can change the topic or walk away


Elementary counselors are unique positions in our schools that provide a variety of specialized services to the students and their families. An elementary school counselor supports each child's personal, social, and educational development through:

Guidance Lessons- The counselor visits each classroom to teach lessons. Topics might include dealing with bullying behavior, identifying basic feelings, I messages, conflict resolution, personal safety, or getting along with others.
 
Individual Counseling- The counselor visits with students about specific concerns, inviting them to explore choices and arrive a responsible solutions consistent with personal and family beliefs.
 
Group Counseling and Social Skills Groups- The counselor works with groups of students over a limited period of time. Group counseling provides students with the opportunity to explore common concerns, gain skills in problem solving, goal setting, and lend support to each other.
 
Community Referrals- The counselor has knowledge of many of the community resources available to families and can help in the referral process.
 
Resources- The counselor has a professional library which includes books, videos, and games dealing with a variety of childhood issues. These resources are available for check out to parents and students.