Feb 7, 2016

Rabbit Season…Duck Season… TESTING Season!

It’s getting to be that time again!  ISTEP Part 1 begins on February 29th and goes through March 11th here in Indiana.  Can you feel the excitement?! 
While it isn’t necessarily the most fun time of year, it gives me the opportunity to go into classrooms and meet with 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders to chat about test taking tips and strategies.  I absolutely LOVE going into classrooms, so I’ll take any chance I can get!
Here are a few activities that I have used for my students to discuss these strategies that are very fun and interactive.  My students have gotten used to me having some sort of activity when I come into their rooms, so I have to keep it interesting.  Sitting around and chatting isn’t much of an option for me!

3rd Grade:  Rockin’ out the Test
Crafting + Learning = Craftivity!  I loved this activity as soon as I saw it, and I knew that my 3rd graders would get a kick out of it as well.  I found this activity from Fun in Room 4B, and she found it from The Lemonade Stand.  You can buy a copy of this activity here for $4.00.

I decided to give the kids a bit of freedom with what they put on their “set lists”, however, I did make sure to go over my own ideas first to get them started.  I went with the RELAX strategy first, then encouraged them to come up with their own acronyms to go along with it.  I also projected the Set List for Success (provided in purchase) onto the screen in the front of the room for the students to refer to. 

4th Grade: Test Taking Scoot
My 4th graders had a blast with the Bullying Scoot game by One-Stop Counseling Shop back in October.  So when I saw a Test Taking Scoot made by Savvy School Counselor, I knew I had to use it!  You can buy a copy of this activity here for $3.00.

Students are asked to move/scoot around the room, from desk to desk, answering questions about test taking tips and strategies.  I usually give the students about 10 minutes or so (about 30-60 seconds per card) to answer questions with the scoot method.  Then, they are given 5 minutes to go back around to cards that they were unsure about and try and answer them with a partner.  Afterwards, we come back together as a group and go over the answers together! 

Just to save paper - and my sanity since I would have to make so many copies – I go ahead and laminate all of the scoot cards AND about 30 answer sheets.  The students use their own dry erase markers to fill in their answers on the laminated answer sheet, then when the game is over, they kindly clean the sheets off for me so I can use them with the next class.

5th Grade: Test Taking Tips Foldable/Test Taking Tips Paper Chain
Okay, so honestly, at this point I am undecided about which activity I will do with my 5th graders this year.  I found two awesome ones, and I simply cannot decide.  I might have to ask my 5th grade teachers which they would prefer and just go from there!  At least I’ll have one in my back-pocket for next year.

The first I am thinking about using is the Test Taking Tips Foldable by Savvy School Counselor.  You can buy this activity here for $3.50.  I love the descriptions of test taking strategies in this activity.  It gives clear and simple tips and tricks, but also allows the students to have some creative freedom in how they explain it to themselves.  They can put the tip/trick on the inside flap, and then draw a picture or use words on the outside as a reminder.  Super cute, and super easy!  I try and make copies of this activity on cardstock just to make sure that it’s sturdier for the kids.


The second activity I would like to use is the Test Taking Tips Paper Chain.  I stumbled across this fun idea at Working 4 the Classroom.  You can buy this activity here for $1.25 (bargain!), and get the name pages to go along with the activity here (for free!).  I love how the students are truly able to make this activity their own and personalize it with their own strategies, AND they can use their name as a strategy acronym.  I have not used this activity in a class before, so I am excited to try it out!

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