As testing season gets closer and closer, some of us (myself included) find anxiety about how well my students will perform starts creeping in. I always put so much pressure on myself for my students to perform well even though I know (deep down) their performance said nothing about how good of a teacher I am. However, my district and the state are going to look at these scores and draw their own conclusions. Therefore, I always used these three elementary math test prep activities this time of year to review critical math skills in my classroom.
Reviewing Math for Testing
Reviewing math is such an important part of learning. As with many subjects, math builds on itself. Therefore, we have to practice “old” math skills constantly to make sure we know new math skills. So, even though these elementary math test prep activities are great for reviewing, they are awesome to use year round!
Elementary Math Test Prep with Centers
Centers are a great way to review ideas and concepts that you have covered throughout the year. I talked about this last week with the reading test prep activities; however, they are great for math too. Why? Because if you are already using centers, your students know exactly what your expectations are, the framework you use for centers in your classroom, and they understand the activities.
I also love centers because they are easy to differentiate. If you are a first grade teacher and you need to challenge your students, you can pull out second grade activities. On the other hand, if you are a fourth grade teacher and your students need help with a concept at a lower level, you can pull out the third grade activities. This works for all grade levels kindergarten through fifth grade. Plus, if you have our Volume 2 centers, they don’t have holiday themes. Therefore, your students won’t even realize they are doing “old” centers. On top of that, all of our centers can be printed or digital.
Because centers are always things you have done before, they are great for elementary math test prep!
Use Spiral Review or Math Test Prep
If you don’t have our Spiral Review for first, second, or third grade, you need it! When you use Spiral Review for elementary math test prep, you’re going to be working on the same concept five days in a row. This helps really make sure we know all of our math facts are in order. When it comes to test prep, it’s not a bad idea to have your third graders working on second grade concepts because, as we all know, math skills build on each other.
You can use Spiral Review as a bell ringer, morning work, an exit slip, or simply as extra homework practice. These worksheets shouldn’t take students more than five minutes, and it’s great extra practice! If you don’t want to use these worksheets as homework, you can also have an early finishers workbook with all of these worksheets in them.
You can use these Spiral Review worksheets all year round and have students do work from previous units to keep them thinking! Plus, when you use elementary math test activities students have seen before, you don’t have to spend precious time explaining how to do things!
Have Fun with Elementary Math Test Prep Games
What really gets students focused? The thrill of competition. What gives students a thrill of competition? Games. The great thing about elementary math test prep games is students are having so much fun, they forget they are learning. Some of my favorite games include: Squares Your Brain and BUMP Games.
Squares Your Brain
Squares Your Brain is an elementary math test prep game that I originally made with test prep in mind. I loved this game because it is so stinkin’ simple that I just had to teach my students how to play it one time and they knew what they were doing. On top of that, Squares Your Brain can be played individually or in groups which means you can add them to your center rotation. They will review key concepts and standards which makes them perfect for test prep. The cherry on top of everything is that Squares Your Brain is self-grading! This saved me so much time and it made sure students knew how they did right away!
BUMP math games are always really fun to use year round! Just like Squares Your Brain, they review math concepts that are super important for students to do well not only on tests but in math in general. These games can be used in centers as well.
If you’re hoping to get students to practice math outside of school, sending a math game home as “homework” for students to play with their parents is a great way to do “fun homework.” Parents and students have fun and it’s a no stress “homework” assignment.
I know testing season is incredibly stressful. However, you can take away some of the stress by having some fun with your elementary test prep. By using things like centers, Spiral Review, and math games, your students will gain knowledge while you get to take a breather and know you’re doing everything you can to help your students be successful.
Until Next Time…
Keep Being Educational Rock Stars