A Note from the Principal
Hello Bernal families!
May is state testing month. Bernal students staff and families have worked hard all year developing student mastery toward the state standards in all subject areas. It's now time to show how we've done! Last year approximately 60% of Bernal students met or exceeded state standards in English-language arts. In math approximately 60% of Bernal students met or exceeded state standards. In science approximately 80% of students met or exceeded state standards. We are looking to blow those results out of the water this year! Later in this issue we have provided some tips for families to prepare their students for state assessments. We know the reality is our children are much more than one score on a single test. We also know that state standards guide every bit of the work we do on a daily basis with our students. We think it's only right to show ourselves to show our community and most importantly for students to show themselves the results of all of the hard work they put in the school year. If you have any specific questions about the upcoming state assessments please don't hesitate to contact my office. As always take care of yourselves and your families and have a great month!
-Dr. Splane, Principal
Teacher Appreciation Week
Monday, May 2nd, 8am to Friday, May 6th, 10am
6610 San Ignacio Avenue
San Jose, CA
SBAC State Testing
Monday, May 2nd, 8am to Friday, May 20th, 4pm
6610 San Ignacio Avenue
San Jose, CA
Wednesday, May 4th, 2:30pm to Thursday, May 5th, 2:30pm
6610 San Ignacio Avenue
San Jose, CA
The book pick-up will be at 2:30 (DIRECTLY after the end of the school day) on the 4th & 5th in Room 103. There is no limit to the number of texts you can pick up.
CJSF End of Year Party
Friday, May 13th, 3-5pm
286 Sorrento Way
San Jose, CA
8th-Graders to Great America
Tuesday, May 31st, 8am
4701 Great America Parkway
Santa Clara, CA
Wednesday, June 8th, 8am to Sunday, Aug. 14th, 7:15pm
6578 Santa Teresa Boulevard
San Jose, CA
24 Test Anxiety Busters in Preparation for SBAC Testing
24 Test Anxiety Busters
Sweaty palms, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating… you know the feeling. You’re sitting in front of THE TEST. Everyone has experienced test anxiety at one time or another, but for some it’s a regular occurrence that often can hinder performance, even if you thoroughly know the content. Next time you or your child is faced with test anxiety, give these strategies a try.
Before the test
- Study like Batman. Study in the same place, at the same time each day. Your brain interprets those cues as meaning it’s time to study, which can improve discipline and focus.
- Choose more sleep. Sleep trumps cramming in terms of improving test scores. Regardless of how much you study in a day, if you sacrifice valuable sleep to study more than usual, you are more likely to have problems taking a test the next day.
- Practice visualization. Marathon runners use this trick when they are training to help them mentally prepare for long distances. While you are quiet and relaxed, imagine walking into the room where your test is taking place. Picture yourself sitting down, relaxed and ready. Then repeat one or more self-affirming statements (e.g., “I’ve got this”). Imagine confidently answering the test questions. After you get really good at picturing everything going smoothly, imagine that you are faced with a difficult question. Let the anxiety flow through your body; then, practice calming yourself using your favorite coping technique. Envision yourself finishing the test and turning it in. Continue practicing visualization until you can easily complete this process. On test day, you will be surprised at just how easy it is to calm yourself using these methods.
- Know what’s in your control. Anxiety often surfaces because we perceive we have lost control over our situation. Try this simple exercise to bring back into focus what you can control. Draw a picture of yourself on a piece of paper. Draw a large circle around the picture. Inside the circle, write down all the things you have in your control about this test. These can be things like the ability to study, how much you can learn, or the ability to relax. Outside the circle, write all the things outside of your control. These can be the type of test (multiple choice versus essay), what the questions are, or how the teacher grades the test. Focus on what’s inside your circle, which you can control, rather than the things outside of your control.
- Create a mantra. This can be anything that speaks to you. “I will do this,” or “I am awesome,” or “I can do hard things” are all great options. Pick something meaningful that sounds authentic to you. Try to keep it short for ease in repeating it silently to yourself during the test.
- Journal about the upcoming test. Worrying can diminish your processing power by affecting your working memory. One study revealed that students who wrote their concerns about a test for ten minutes improved their scores by one grade point.
- Write five of your greatest strengths on a piece of paper. Keep the paper with you for the test to remind you that your value is not dependent on how well you do on the test. You can also lean on your strengths for creative problem solving during the exam.
On the day of the test
- Arrive early. Nothing messes with your test-taking mojo like dashing in at the last second or, even worse, being late.
- Let yourself be excited rather than anxious. Research shows that when you reframe performance anxiety into excitement, you are more likely to perform better. Instead of thinking, “I’m a ball of nerves,” say, “I’m excited! My body is preparing me to do well on this exam.”
- Stay away from jitterbugs. There are always students who are anxious before a test. You need to be careful of the ones who are giving into their nerves and generating more anxiety in the people around them. Instead, focus on your own abilities, your own preparation, and your own visualizations of the test.
- Keep it in perspective. Tests are meant to be a demonstration of learning. Remember, this is one test. Even if it is worth a large portion of your grade, your value is not contingent on how well you do on this test.
- Bring the right clothing. Have you ever tried to write an essay when your hands are shaking from the cold? It’s nearly impossible. Likewise, it’s hard to concentrate when you are sweating under a heavy sweater. Dress in layers so you can add or shed layers to be physically comfortable in the room.
- Eat well before leaving for the test. Again, it’s hard to concentrate when the rumbles from your stomach drown out your powers of deduction and concentration.
- Carry a lucky charm. Do you have a lucky t-shirt that you wear to your team’s sporting events in hopes of affecting the outcome? Researcher Robert Biswas-Diener calls this “magical thinking.” His research shows that carrying an item or wearing jewelry that gives you peace—what people call lucky charms—consistently boosts self-assurance, which in turn improves performance.
- Strike a power pose. Studies show that “power posing,” or holding a posture for two minutes that appears confident even when you don’t actually feel that way can have a tremendous positive ripple effect. A power pose might involve raising or opening your arms, moving your hands away from your body, or drawing yourself up to your full height (envision Wonder Woman).
During the test
- Read the instructions well. There is nothing worse than writing an essay on a topic before realizing it doesn’t answer the question that was asked. Reading instructions and looking over the test not only will help you avoid costly mistakes but also will help you gauge how much time you can spend on each question to finish the test on time.
- Use your mantra. Repeat.
- Focus on the big picture. You are not your test score. This is one test, and chances are you will do better than you think you will. Even if this is a college entrance exam, remember that it is most likely only one portion of your college entrance application.
- Remain in the present. If you find your mind wandering, take a breath, readjust your seated position, and repeat your mantra to bring yourself back to the present task. You can also check in with your five senses as a quick mindfulness exercise (e.g., “What do I see, taste, touch, hear, and smell right now?”)
- For multiple-choice tests, remember the answer is in there. Take your time and think about the material. You will find the right answer.
- Skip the tough stuff, at first. It’s OK to skip difficult questions and come back to them after you have finished the rest of the test.
- Talk to your negative thoughts. “Hey thoughts, I see you’re here and thanks for worrying about me, but I’m fine. This is just a test.” By addressing your anxious thoughts, you are acknowledging them without giving into them. This allows your brain to move on to other tasks.
After the test
- Evaluate the strengths you used during the test-taking process. Think about what went well during the pretest phase and during the test and how you applied your character strengths.Identifying strengths is a powerful intervention correlated to increased academic success and life satisfaction.
- Savor your success. Take a minute to savor the success of completing the test. Do a happy dance or take a little nap!
Bryan Stow Empowers Students to Take Action against Bullying
Bernal School was honored to host Bryan Stow on Thursday, April 28th as he shared his courageous story of survival with the Bernal student body in an effort to empower our students to take action against bullying. Bryan Stow was joined by his Speech and Language Pathologist, who assisted him during his presentation, and by his parents. His presentation included pictures and video footage, which chronicled the painful struggles of recovering from a severe brain injury, coping and adjusting to the loss of his old life, and finding his new mission in life after the brutal attack nearly five years ago that almost killed him. Bryan closed his presentation with an audience pledge to stop bullies, to stop personal bullying behavior, and to seek kindness and respect for others. Students, staff and community members in attendance had an opportunity to speak directly to Bryan and take pictures after the presentations. For more information on Bryan Stow’s assemblies on Anti-Bullying, visit the Bryan Stow Foundation website at BryanStowFoundation.org.
Spring Fair Was a Success!
Bernal’s 2nd Annual History Day
Eighth Grade students at Bernal participated in our 2nd Annual History Day event on April 19th. The theme of this year’s cross-curricular project was “Migration and Immigration”. Movement, immigration, and push-pull factors are reoccurring themes used throughout the year in their U.S. History class. To make the project meaningful and relatable, students were able to choose a person or group of people within the theme to create their projects on. Many students chose people that were reflective of their own heritage or ancestry.
Students worked collaboratively in groups on much of their projects, but they also worked individually on essays in their English Language Arts class. New skills were acquired in the process: students learned how to evaluate sources, how to correctly cite sources, and how to write research papers.
After researching their person/people, students worked collaboratively in groups on their projects. Each group created a poster display, and had a choice for the other component of the project from the following four categories: design a PowerPoint, Google Slides, or Prezi presentation, create a dramatic performance, film and edit a video, or an alternative project, such as a song, podcast, game, etc.
History Day was an exciting time for students! They dressed up for the occasion, and many groups added props and food to add an authentic feel to their History Day booths. Students were able to show off their projects and explain what they had learned to fellow students, school staff, and even parents. More than fifty awards and certificates were presented to students for their hard work and creativity.
As a final push to close out the school year with positive behavior, students school-wide will be challenged to spend 1000 Bronco Bucks at the Student Store. If they reach this goal, the entire student body will be rewarded with a special lunch time treat! Students will continue to be acknowledged for exhibiting Responsibility, Integrity, Safety and Respect with Bronco Bucks and with Bravo Broncos for the remainder of the school year. We encourage students who have earned Bucks to visit the Student Store on Tuesdays and Thursdays at lunch to cash in on some fantastic prizes!
Bernal’s Got Talent
Every year we like to showcase our talented Bernal students. This year’s Talent Show will include two performances during school hours on Tuesday, May 24th. Parents are welcome to visit to see a variety of talent such as musicians, singers, dancers, jugglers, comedy, skits, martial arts, and more! Talent Show tryouts will be held on May 3rd through May 5th at lunch time in the gymnasium. Students must bring their permission slip signed by parent/guardian on the day of tryouts! The permission slip can be found using the following link:
8th Grade End of the Year Activities
Participation in the 8th grade end-of-the-year activities is earned and is based on academic requirements and positive student behavior. The major activities that are planned for our students are: the Eighth Grade field trip to Great America on May 31st, the Eighth Grade Promotion Dance on June 3rd, and the Graduation Ceremony on June 7th. Planning is underway as we gear up for an exciting end of the school year!