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Thursday Tips for Teachers: Test Prep - Check the Copyright

Gearing up for test prep? This edition of Thursday Tips for teachers is devoted to the selecting of texts for test prep. Since it is my first Thursday Tips for Teachers, I wanted to share the gleaming golden nugget of knowledge that I recently found out and have been sharing with my mentee teachers.

When I was reviewing the state test for item samplers, I noticed that several of the passages came from Highlights, Click, and Cricket Magazines. 

All of these magazines are focused on children and feature fiction and non-fiction passages. I was not as familiar with the Click and Cricket Magazines, but a quick Google showed them to be similar to Highlights.

Why Not Use Only ReadWorks?

As much as I love ReadWorks, I really want to be strategic when selecting my texts for test prep. Many of the teachers use the ReadWorks passages during the year in class, and they can be overused when it comes time for test prep. They also come with questions that may not align with the learning objectives that my kids need the most. Using these magazine texts, helps to prep my kids with content that may be used on the test and the freedom to design and align my objectives.

Well What About Using the Practice Tests?

 Like Readworks, it can also be difficult to use the item samplers, as they are few in number. I like to save those questions/test for the diagnostic and summative assessments and use highlights to develop my formative assessments. These suggestions are only one way of prepping for the standardized tests. I like this system because it minimizes burn out on both the teacher and the students.

I would suggest looking closely at your test to find where your passages are coming from to further help your students prep. If there is no copyright, I would suggest  googling the author's name to find out more about where they have published in the past or find some of their other works.

Below are links to the highlights passages. I would suggest possibly purchasing a copy of these magazines to use in your classroom.

Next Thursday's Tip for Teachers is the break down of how to incorporate practice without becoming overwhelmed or overloading your students. One of the teachers I work with has incorporated this system and has seen a lot of growth with her students.

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