It’s that time of the school year… the time in which teachers everywhere in 3rd grade and up are FRANTICALLY making sure that their students are ready for statewide standardized testing in the spring! Are you ready? Are your students ready? How can you make test prep fun this year?!
Standardized testing can be really scary for many students. I know that when I was in school, I was a student who didn’t always do well on standardized tests, yet I was an A and B student and made the honor roll. As teachers, we always want to make sure that we are preparing our students enough, getting them to try their best but also making sure that they know that the standardized test does not DEFINE THEM for the school year. It is important to add a little light and FUN to your test prep sessions at this time of year so that students actually have fun preparing and this may help to take away some of their nervousness as well!
Here are 8 Ways to Make Test Prep Fun!
- Review any learning songs that you’ve taught around a “campfire”
If you are teaching in-person, this will work better but it can still be done virtually as well. Many teachers have catchy little songs or rhymes to remember skills taught. Create a circle of chairs with a pretend “campfire” in the center. You can make the campfire out of construction paper or bulletin board paper and use cardboard rolls as “logs.” You could also use a fan or air purifier to “blow” red, orange and yellow streamers as the fire which can be pretty fun! At the end of the review session, make s’mores as a reward! If you are teaching virtually, simply go on Youtube to find a picture of a campfire burning and do it that way.
- Letter of encouragement or compliment from a parent or family member
Send a letter home to families asking them to participate in this for their children. It’s so fun to see children light up on testing day when they come into the classroom and read a letter from a loved one. This gives them a quick self-confidence boost before they get to work! If any family members forget to participate, you could have another teacher or staff member write that student a letter.
You can do many different types of games to review for state-wide
testing. You could do whole class jeopardy-style to review for each
subject and even give out fun prizes at the end. These Hit the Jackpot Games are PERFECT for state-wide test prep and even have a jeopardy feel to them! There are bundles for grades 2-5. There is ZERO prep work involved on the teacher’s end, simply start the slideshow to play (which is an added bonus!) In addition, there are worksheets that you can pass out to students to allow them to show their work and solve the problem. The worksheets are also available in a digital version!
4. Let students write the answers on their desk using shaving cream!
(This one’s self explanatory and just plain FUN at any age!)
5. Play Kahoot
You prepare questions and students answer the questions in a game-like format on a computer or ipad. The kids LOVE it! The questions are shown to the class on the SMARTboard. Kahoot also even has a HUGE library of quiz questions already prepared for teachers for FREE if you want to use any! (They must know how valuable a teacher’s time is!)
6. 1,2,3…SHOW YOUR ANSWER!
Ask the whole class or a small group a question (or display with the document camera). Have students answer on individual white boards. Say, “1…2…3…Show!” to have all students show their answers at once for quick assessment. (If you want to get really competitive you could divide the class into groups for this game and keep score!)
7. Use Boom Cards
Boom Cards provide lots of data from your students’ play so that you can individualize study sessions and planning. These would be great to assign to students who are learning virtually or during math centers or early finishers.
8. Review Outside
Now take any of the ideas above…and move class OUTSIDE! Sometimes students just need some fresh air to make things happy, fun and less stressful!
Remember the Goal of Test Prep
The goal of test prep is for students to have fun learning and reviewing different subject areas and forget that they are preparing for the state-wide test! In addition, it is our job as educators to make sure that our students are properly prepared for state-wode standardized testing by having taught all of the material that they will possibly see on the test. Finally, we need to make sure students are CONFIDENT in themselves and what they have learned over the school year so that they can get the best score possible.
What do you use to prepare your students for state-wide testing?
Until Next Time,