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Testing

5 Tips for Standardized Testing

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Oh testing time, oh testing time. What a magical time of year…NOT. Testing time is a stressful time of year for students and teachers alike.  Today I’m sharing 5 tips to help make standardized testing a little easier.

  1. Prepare your room early so the kids have time to adjust – Most of the time we have to cover up anchor charts, move desks so students are far apart, etc.  Do this ahead of time. Any time you make changes in your room, the kids notice and it can cause a commotion. If you do this a few days before testing, they will be used to it by the time testing begins.
  2. Decorate the room with positive messages – Since all of your beautiful anchor charts and posters are covered up, the room can look a little sad.  Put posters up with motivational positive messages.  It’s a way to decorate while also reminding the kids that they can do this!
  3. Make sure the kids have a healthy snack – At past schools, PTA has provided snacks for testing.  I highly recommend asking your PTA if they provide snacks or seeing if your school can do that.  Some kids come to school with no breakfast and no food. Students can’t perform well on a test if they are hungry.  I used to also provide granola bars or fresh fruit as a snack before testing or on testing breaks.
  4. Provide movement opportunities before and after testing – These tests tend to be long and it’s a lot of sitting. Prior to testing, have students do a brain break and get up and moving. They will do better if they are alert.  Use GoNoodle and do a brain break to pump them up. If you are testing after lunch/recess and they are crazy, use GoNoodle yoga or one of the mindfulness brain breaks to help calm them down for resting.
  5. Provide motivational messages on either a special treat or pencils – There are so many ideas out there for little motivational treats for students.  I’ve seen many food treats that are a little gift before or after testing. My personal favorite is the motivational message written on the child’s testing pencil.

If you missed my blog post about test prep review ideas, click here….

Be sure to sign up for my email list below! This Tuesday (April 10) I will be sending out a FREEBIE to all of my email subscribers with some cute testing signs you can use during testing season!



Test Prep Review Ideas

Math, Reading

It’s getting to be that time again….the dreading testing season is about to begin! I know April and May can be quite chaotic for teachers with all of the end of the year activities, but it is also chaotic with all of the testing!  We test in early May so April tends to be a lot of review. And, while reviewing can be boring, I’ve done a few things the last year or two to spice it up a bit.

Reviewing content is important throughout the year, but refreshers are always good as testing approaches. Last year I wanted to freshen things up a bit and try to make reviewing as fun as possible.  One way I did this was by changing up the way we reviewed each day.  For example, in math, we reviewed different skill areas each day. One day we worked on place value, one day operations, one day patterns, etc.  To keep it fresh, we reviewed these skills in different ways. This way no two days was the same. And – it helped! The students enjoyed reviewing more and were more engaged (which is the whole point of this :-)!)

Here are some ideas for how to review math skills…these can be applied to different grade levels and skills:

  • Egg Hunt – Yes, I know Easter is over, but an egg hunt is fun for everyone. To practice our operations skills (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) I created an egg hunt for my kids.  They were able to go around the room hunting for eggs and then they had to solve the problems inside the egg on the recording sheet. They loved it!  I also differentiated by putting more difficult problems in certain colored eggs and more on-level problems in others. This way I was able to challenge the kids who were ready.

  • Match-Up – Another activity I did was a match-up activity with partners. Students had the multiplication or division problem and had to match the problem with the answer card.

  • Around the Room – Kids need to move and they especially need to move as we get closer and closer to the end of the year. Last year I created an Around the Room activity to review place value. It included expanded form, place value model, comparing numbers, and writing numbers in standard form.  Kids were up and moving and able to review the different place value skills we worked on. You can find Place Value Review – Around the Room in my TPT Store…here.  I also created an Around the Room activity to review the pattern skills that we did a different day to avoid repetitious review activitie

  • White Board Review – Another skill we reviewed was understanding story problems. Our standards include being able to solve story problems, but also being able to identify the operation and the number sentence that matches. I put a PowerPoint together and the kids would respond to the question on their white boards and then we’d do a quick show and discussion.

   

  • Kids Sharing Out – This was an idea I saw on Instagram last year and I wish I could remember where because it is genius!  I put different operation and story problems on larger poster paper around the room. Students then went around and solved the problems on their own recording sheet.  Once they finished that, I partnered the kids up and gave each partnership one of the hanging poster boards.  They had to solve that problem on the chart paper. Then, they had to get up and present to the class how they solved it.  Great way to practice math communication and review!

   

 

    

I know many of these ideas are focused around math, but you could still use the same review activities, but with reading or ELA skills. I will also be doing language arts and reading review with lots of task cards.  For reading – I also highly recommend looking at ReadWorks. They have tons of multiple choice passages like the students will see on many of these standardized test.

How do you review for standardized testing? Share your ideas in the comments…

Be sure to sign up for my email list below! This Tuesday (April 10) I will be sending out a FREEBIE to all of my email subscribers with some cute testing signs you can use during testing season!