School testing is right around the corner and many teachers are frantically scurrying to find activities to prep their students. In my classroom each year test prep becomes a drill and kill activity that I dread, so I know my students dread it as well. What if there was a way to prep for the upcoming state tests with out the drill and kill? In this post, I will share three ways you can make the test prep season more enjoyable and engaging for your students all while maintaining the rigor needed for state testing.
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This time old traditional game is perfect for review. From reviewing algebra concepts, editing, fractions, etc., the list goes on. This game can easily be displayed on the whiteboard and play with just some simple preparation. Check out this photo from Math in the Middle.
Test Prep Gallery Walk
A great group activity that gets your students up and moving around the room and also gives them a chance to critique each other’s work is a test prep gallery walk. Break your students into groups and asked them to answer a series of questions that are written out on paper posted around the classroom. Every group must justify their answers with written explanations, pictures, or equations. After the activity is finished, students will present their answers to the rest of the class and their peers are given a chance to compare their work and critique the process used to arrive at the answer. Teaching to Inspire has a great blog post on how she uses this strategy in her classroom.
Who doesn’t like basketball? What student doesn’t like crumpling their paper up and throwing it into the trashcan? This review game students will complete a worksheet questions or problems and once complete they will hand into the teacher for grading. After all their questions are answered correctly the student earns points by shooting the worksheet into the trashcan. This can be played individually or as a group. Check out this blog post from Ms. E Teaches Math.
As you gear up for the testing season remember that your students are just as stressed out as you are. This is the time to make learning fun and help your students relax before testing.
Fourth grade writing is extremely stressful and needs lots of prep to prepare your students for the format of state tests. Here in Texas, I start prepping my students the first day of school. However, after Christmas break, we begin our weekly writing prompt practice using my STAAR writing prompt resource.
This resource contains 25 expository writing prompts, an expository graphic organizer, and lined writing paper all in the STAAR testing format. We use this resource as a jumping point each week for a finished, polished essay that we take through the writing process. By the time my students take the state test, they are well versed in how the test is set up and where to find all the important information that is needed for them to write an amazing essay. Check it out in my store!
Remember, your students are just as stressed as you are and need you to lead by example and stay calm. Remind your students to get a good nights sleep the night before and eat a healthy breakfast on testing day. Also, try helping your students calm themselves with meditation or yoga in the classroom and lots of encouragement from their biggest fan, YOU!!!
Good luck this testing season teachers! Have something to add that helps your students during testing? I would love to hear your tips and tricks below.