Testing Time is Right Around the Corner


First let me start by saying that those of you that have state testing coming up are in my thoughts and prayers.  This is my first year to not have "the test" hanging over me and I have to say my stress level is dramatically different than a year ago.  But that being said, I know what you are feeling and going through.  I remember all too well the feeling of "I've taught them what they need to do well.  Will they use their strategies?  Will they do their best?  Will they bubble the right question number?"  I found this little e-card and it hit home.

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Despite my reasons for teaching, testing is part of it.  So in that sense - yes I do want my kids to pass the test.  I have had the opportunity to work with two amazing third grade teams!  Every year I have been part of a "Prep Week" the week before testing.  We have always taken the approach of fun ways to review and dropped the drill and kill.  If they don't know it by now, they probably won't next week.  So a change of pace is good for the students and the teachers!  Our Prep Week usually looked like 2 days of Reading and 2 days of Math rotations.  I've rotated by class from teacher to teacher, and we've rotated in mixed class groups.  I prefer the later for a couple reasons:  1 - the kids love the change and 2 - we usually group based on where they are.  This gave us a chance to hone more specific instruction based on need.  Every year, one of my math days and one of my reading days was using a Jeopardy review game.  I did it every year because it worked!  The kids loved it and it paved the way for great review and discussion. 

I don't have a fancy buzzer system or anything like that in my room.  In fact I put the group into teams of 3 or 4 and we just rotate around the room.  My goal was for the team to work together to talk through the question, how to answer it, and if there was disagreement give their explanation to the team.  This was the crux of the learning and review.  I wanted to make sure that everyone is working on every question so their were getting all of the review and not just every 4th or 5th question.  So, I implemented this rule:  If a team gets the questions wrong, I will randomly (drawing sticks, rolling a dice, etc.)  pick another team to steal the points.  However, they stealing team did not get additional time to answer the question, they had to have their answer ready to go.  But if you have a buzzer system, or even tap lights, you could really set up like a game show.

The Reading game covers the following reading areas: Context Clues, Fact and Opinion, Cause and Effect, Reading for Details, Inferencing and Main Idea. The Final Jeopardy question is on Poetry.  The Math game covers Number Lines, Story Problems, Geometry, Graphs, Fractions, Area, Perimeter, Input/Output, Time and Probability.
You can find the Reading Review Jeopardy and Math Review Jeopardy in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Each PowerPoint game is $3.00 or you can buy both bundled together for $5.00.  I have to say for me it was well worth the hours I spent creating them for my students.  If you use it with your students, I'd love to know how it went.  Click on the picture below to find the corresponding game at TpT.

Want to know how we ended Prep Week - with a relaxing day that didn't focus on the test at all.  At my first campus we had a family picnic that day to celebrate all the kids hard work and spent the day reinforcing to the kids that they ready!  What do you do in those last couple of weeks before "the test?"  Share your ideas or blog posts about test prep in the comments.