That dreaded time of the year has arrived……standardized testing. In Florida, standardized testing is high stakes. Teachers are evaluated on test scores and students are promoted or retained in certain grades based on their test scores. I call that HIGH STAKES. However, test prep and testing season are here and there is nothing we can do about it – or is there?
Third-grade starts testing on Tuesday, which is immediately after Spring Break. We have ONE day to get our students back in the school mindset and then we begin testing. This created kind of a problem for the much-needed pre-testing review week. Basically, they are spending it on Spring Break. So, creative teachers had to get to work on how to best spend our review time and when to do it.
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Here is what I did. I concentrated our review on reading because, in Florida, 3rd graders have to pass this test to be promoted to 4th grade. My grade-level team identified 6 standards that we felt our students were struggling with. We planned our review activities to include mini-lessons and literacy centers for practice and remediation.
I know that my kiddos are a little burnt out right now, so I added a little fun and competition to keep their engagement up! We used my Test Prep & Team Building – Super Hero Themed Resource. You could do any theme you like and this would be a fun way to prep!
First, I divided my class into 5 teams: ZAP, KAPOW, BOOM, BAM, and ZONK. I gave them name tags, a team sign, and a very visible tally chart to keep track of the tickets they will earn.
Each day, I gave out tickets for superhero engagement during all review activities.
At midday, I would count up tickets so they knew what team was ahead. I hoped this would inspire that Super Hero attitude for the rest of the day.
At day’s end, I awarded the winning team with a surprise – Smarties, SweetTarts, or some other sweet treat!
You would not believe how excited and competitive they got! This kind of short-term fun really bonded them as a team. They inspired and encouraged each other AND they got a valuable spiral review!
So, what will I do when the actual testing week arrives? Keep reading….
My plan for the week is simple: a relaxed spiral review before and after testing each day.
Here is the schedule:
- Review testing procedures and ease anxiety
- Review good reading test practices including rereading for understanding, finding text evidence, and looking for clues words
- Literacy Centers for Spiral Review: I like to include high-interest content like these Social Studies Close Reading Activities that include ELA question stems.
- Math Activities and Centers
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 to remediate for specific skills – these math worksheets are perfect for targeting specific areas of need: Spring Math Review Worksheets
- Math Centers (for the entire week) – Here are a few of the fun and engaging activities I like to include: Digital Multiplication Arrays Practice, Fractions Error Analysis – Two Truths and a Lie, and 2D Shapes Error Analysis.
If you need ideas for math test prep, this post can help – 3 Ways to Make Math Test Prep Fun!
- Goodie Bags on student’s desks when they arrive. I requested Notes of Encouragement from families for the first day of testing.
- Reading Test Day One – 80 minutes
- Snacks & Brain Breaks after testing
- Reminders for good reading test practices: rereading for understanding, finding text evidence, and looking for clue words
- Math – small groups
- Math Centers
- Reading Test Day 2 – 80 minutes
- Snacks & Brain Breaks after testing
- Review test procedures of math
- Math Small groups
- Math Games – keep it fun and relaxed!
- Math Test Day 1 – 80 minutes
- Snacks & Brain Breaks after Testing
- Quiet time – students read favorite book or teacher read aloud
- Math Games
- Science or Health Lessons
- Social Studies Unit – Civics and Government or Settlement Patterns
- Math Test Day 2 – 80 minutes
- Snacks and Brain Breaks after testing
Happy Dance – We are Done!
There you are – we will have survived the test prep and testing season and so will you! Now we enjoy the best part of the school year! Enrichment, projects, lots of independent reading, and fun!
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