Thursday, March 5, 2015

Test Prep Made FUN!

Hello, it's Jamie from Diary of a Not So Wimpy Teacher. I have a deal for you!

I am pretty excited about the fact that I only have one more day until my two week spring break. (I teach at a semi year round school.) But, I also know that spring break means that standardized testing is right around the corner. I think we can all agree that standardized testing is one of the worst parts of teaching. No matter how much we dislike the tests, we have to give them. So why not throw in some fun?!!! I have some ideas for you!

A couple of years ago, I decided that it would be fun to have a theme for test prep. Since it happened in the spring, right when spring training is going strong, I decided that baseball would be the best theme.

First, students make some spring training goals. Students write about what they need to work on during training in order to be successful on game day (also known as test day). Setting goals helps the students to be more accountable for their test prep time.

These make a great bulletin board titled "Batter Up!" Then kids can reread their goals when necessary.

My third graders have very little experience with standardized testing. I spend a little time each day teaching them some test prep tips. Here are a few samples:

Students record the tip and expand upon it in their game day play books! (You can also use the play books for reviewing math and ELA skills.)

As game day gets closer, I ask students to reflect on all of the test taking tips and make a game day promise. My kiddo is always late, might promise to be on time. My kiddo who always rushes, might promise to slow down and read all directions.

I display these outside our door with the title, "We are going to hit this test out of the park!" or "we're Bringing our A Game!" As students walk into class on game day, I have them reread their promise.

Last year, I found these fantastic baseball bracelets with motivating phrases and cute baseball mints at Party City. I had them waiting on the kids' desks. (I searched all of my files and just can't seem to find a picture. Bummer!)

After the big test, it was time for a team party! I love to show the movie Everyone's Hero. It is an adorable movie that makes everyone laugh and has a great message.  I also have parents donate some food so that we can have hot dogs, cracker jacks and cupcakes. The kids LOVE it! And it is just the break that we deserve!

Are you ready for the deal? All of the posters and printables that I use for my game day test prep are on sale for just $1! Be quick because this deal will only last for three days! Click on the picture below.

If you are looking for some more fun ways to review before testing, check out this blog post that I wrote about using task cards for test prep.

Happy test prep!

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