By Rissa Hanneken Updated February 21, 2023
Are you a teacher dreading the upcoming testing season? Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming! With the right approach and preparation, this time of year can actually be enjoyable—yes, really! In fact, with a few smart moves throughout the test prep and testing period, your students can perform better on their tests while also having fun in class. Keep reading for some tips to make life easier before, during, and after testing season!
Table of Contents
Get Organized Early On
The key to success in any situation is organization. Before testing season even begins, start getting your classroom organized by creating a clear plan of action for what you’ll do before and during the tests. Create a detailed schedule of activities that outlines when students should review material, take practice tests, etc., so that everyone knows exactly what they need to do and when they need to do it. This will help them stay focused and on task throughout the entire process.
Make Test Prep Fun
It’s important not only to focus on the content of each subject being tested but also on having fun while reviewing it. Try coming up with creative ways to engage your students in the subject matter such as fun test prep games like Jeopardy. Not only will this make learning more enjoyable for your students, but it will also give them a better chance at retaining information and doing well on their tests!
Learning math doesn’t have to be a stressful task! One great way students can tackle reviewing for tests is by creating hands-on, interactive learning centers. This enjoyable environment allows them to practice the skills they may not feel completely confident about and freshen up their knowledge of the material in a stress-free atmosphere.
My plan for the week is simple: a relaxed spiral review before and after testing each day.
Reading Test Days
On Day One of testing, I place a goody bag on each student’s desk that is there when they arrive. Inside I include Notes of Encouragement from family and me, pencils, erasers, and a mint. This serves two purposes: It gives them something to do to get their mind off of the testing, and it gives them confidence that they have support.
This is an example from a year when I had a superhero theme.
Before testing begins: We review testing procedures that helps ease anxiety. Knowing upfront what to expect will help students’ confidence as they begin the testing period. We also review good reading test practices:
- Reread for understanding
- Look for clue words that help you know what text structure is being used.
- Find text evidence that supports your answer.
Math Spiral Review
In my state, the reading tests are the first two days, so I can continue reviewing math skills with my students. After the reading test is over for the day, we focus on math.
Here is what I do:
Whole Group Math: These fun, engaging, and NO PREP Jeopardy Games are the perfect review that won’t make students anxious! Get them HERE.
Math Focus Small Groups: I continue to pull students for small group math practice and remediation. These math worksheets are perfect for targeting specific areas of need: Spring Math Review Worksheets
Math Centers (for the entire week) – You can continue using the math centers included in this big pack of Test Prep Math Centers:
If you need ideas for math test prep, this post can help – 3 Ways to Make Math Test Prep Fun!
Math Test Days
Before testing begins: We review testing procedures that are math specific. When can they use a ruler, where can they work out their math problems, etc.
We also review good test-taking strategies for math:
- Reread for understanding
- Look for clue words that help you know what the question is asking
- Work out each problem using math models and equations
Happy Dance – We are Done!
After all the hard work is done, and all the tests have been taken, don’t forget to celebrate! Both teachers and students alike need to recognize their efforts and reward themselves for completing this challenging period of work. Plan something fun that doesn’t include test prep and review!
Now it’s time to do ALL the fun things we’ve had to put off while we concentrated on math and reading.
Fun After Testing Activities
I use high-interest passages that help my students reinforce these strategies before and after testing. This Regions of the United States Reading and Map Activity Pack is perfect for this. It includes the close reading aspect, vocabulary practice, and fun maps to color and detail!
The testing season doesn’t have to be overwhelming or stressful; with good preparation and the right approach from teachers, these few weeks can be enjoyable for everyone involved! By staying organized early on, making test prep fun through creative activities, and celebrating after tests are completed – teachers can ensure that their students perform better on their exams while still having fun in class! So consider these tips next time you dread testing season – you may find yourself looking forward to it instead!
The most valuable resource that all teachers have is each other. Without collaboration our growth is limited to our own perspectives.Robert John Meehan
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