This morning I happened to read some teacher suggestions (a union teacher journal) on writing in the classroom. One teacher mentioned that as she handed out tests to her class, she instructed the students to write an inspiring message on their test. She mentions that they would roll their eyes but do it anyway. Then if she forgot to mention the message on later, future tests, the students reminded her.
I gave some geometry finals today, and as they got ready, I told them to write inspiring messages on their scratch paper. I mentioned that they'd do great, and they have to free up their brain cells from stressing, so they can concentrate on doing math.
I read through their messages after the test:
* Don't overthink it! Relax and everything will be okay.
* Kick butt!
* You are the smartest person in the world!
* You know things .... just try your hardest.
* I'm proud of you.