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Showing posts with label Test Prep. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Test Prep. Show all posts

Tackling the Test: Begin with the End in Mind

Help students prep for state testing with these test prep review ideas

Avoid the stress of testing and create an actionable plan to prepare for the testing in August, rather than April.

Tackling the Test: Meaningful Review

Help students prep for state testing with these meaningful test prep review ideas

Once you have the objectives selected, let the fun of the review begin. Keeping reading for some of my favorite test time review activities.


Tackling the Test: Identifying Your Testing Priorities

Help students prep for state testing with these test prep review ideas

When preparing for the state test, it can pretty daunting to determine which are your priority objectives.  Best case scenario, you have been tracking student progress all year and have a good approximation of how your students will perform on a standardized test. Worst case, you are just prepping for the test and it is days away. If for some reason I was thrown into a class room with 10 days until the test, this would be my go to plan to help my students.

Tackling the Test: Tips and Tricks to Prepare for Standardized Testing

Help students prep for state testing with these test prep review ideas

Testing season right around the corner? Test prep not as organized as you would like? Keep reading for more tips and strategies to make your life and that of your students easier. 


You Ought to Know: Test Prep Incentives

Hi All! Happy Saturday!
Today I am linking up with Mrs. McClain over at Buzzing with Mrs. McClain for her monthly You Oughta Know blog hop. Other bloggers and I will be sharing things that you “oughta know” for your classroom.

For the past three weeks, I have been blogging about Test Prep Tips in an effort to simplify test prep preparation and anxiety for students AND teachers. 


This month, You Oughta Know About... Testing Incentives!!!

With the state test looming at the end of the month, it is easy for teachers and students to be overwhelmed with the preparation for it. 

Enter Star Charms!

Reading Stars

Back Story 

When I was teaching, we had to some up with a way of encouraging our students to show what they know for the ACTAAP test (The Arkansas State Test). We chose to focus specifically on Open Response Questions because of their weight on the test and our students past issues in answering them correctly. 


We ran the program in 3-5, because those are the tested grades, and the grades of our Upper Elementary School. All students took an open response question in math and in reading and turned them into the principal. It was a simple question taken from past tests, printed on a half sheet of paper. Students had 15 minutes to answer each question and write their names on the paper. Afterwards, all of the papers were collected and turned into the main office. 
The students who were proficient/advanced received their papers back with one of these stars.  


Students loved them! They loved wearing them on their wrists or on their necklaces and earning them for showing what they knew! We saw a dramatic difference in students energy and enthusiasm when prepping for the test. One of the best parts was how inexpensive the stars were. They are $5.49 for 25 multi-colored charms and $20 for a 100.
Math Award Stars


Thinking over this system, I would definitely award students stars based on growth on each category.  You want to encourage ALL students as much as possible and encourage their growth. 

I would also purchase additional charm packs for other incentives. There are number packs that I would use to track how many books each of my students read throughout the year.


Standardized Test Prep Freebie!

I love that the star theme also carries over to this FREEBIE, I made to track student progress on specific learning objectives. 

Click the link for Math Stars and Reading Stars!


Thursday Tips for Teachers: Student Created Questions!

Time for Thursday Tips for Teachers!

This week the focus is on cutting down YOUR prep time for test review. Instead of creating all of the questions for your students, empower them by having them create the questions. Creating is the highest level of Bloom's Taxonomy! Your students would have to think through all levels of Bloom's in order to create their questions.  

You can play review games like Jeopardy or set up stations using the student questions. 
I personally like to have the students critique the questions and give feedback on their quality.
 It is amazing to see students who use the test questions to critique their work. 


  • Select a learning standard. 

    • I like to use this format for grammar questions and math questions. Use any standard your students are having a hard time at mastering or ones they they keep getting tricked on.

  • Find 5 examples of questions/question stems relating to that learning standard.

    • Find multiple examples of the questions to use as models and examples for students to build their own questions. 
    • For older students, you could give them a reading passage and have them create a series of questions based on the text. I could see poems or non-fiction text features being used for example. Find the types of questions that align with those texts for use. 

  • Create a simple template for your students

    • I used Powerpoint to make my template. If you would like it, simply leave a comment below!

  • Give to your students!

    • Let them loose to explore and create their own questions! If they can create the questions, they are demonstrating a deeper level of mastery for all of the questions. 
Hope this helps!


Thursday Tips for Teachers: Quick Daily Practice

It's Thursday! Time for another Test Prep Themed Tip!

Last week, I wrote about selecting your texts based on test item samplers to best support your kids. I know I struggle sometimes with creating text passages, but I still want to provide my students with quality texts to let them show their skills, even if they do have to take these tests.

This week's tips is how I break them down to make them more manageable for you and your students. When I was first teaching, I would give them the whole passage and then go over all the questions in one setting. Needless to say, they were burnt out and depressed over the strain of taking the tests and antagonizing over their wrong answers. 

When I was working with one of my mentee teachers, we came up with another way to make test prep more manageable. Instead of doing all the review on one day, we broke it up over the next four days so that she could incorporate test prep in small chunks, but still be able to teach her lessons. 

Prep Work:

Her prep work consisted of writing 8 questions for two writing passages. She used the same focus skills so she could measure their growth from the beginning of the week. 

On Monday, students take the whole passage and only review their answers for questions 1 and 2. This allows the teacher to record all of their data on how they did and prepare mini-lessons to support her students for the rest of the week. Writing her own questions allows her to work on the skill her students struggle with and prepare to lead mini-review lessons. 

Below is the sheet she gives to students to have them explain their thinking. They record their answers on Monday, so she can take the passages and answers, but the students still have access to their answers. This sheet is great because they can record their thinking and their metacognitive skills to think about their thinking.

When they take the second passage on Friday, they track their progress on individual trackers on how many they have gotten correct out of eight. This is just a simple way to invest your students in their growth.

All of these sheets are included in my FREEBIE STAR Tracker Packet. It also includes a sheet for students to track their mastery of specific learning objectives.

Hope this helps lighten your test prep!


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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