April 20, 2016

Motivational Ways to Prep for Standardized Testing!

Hello friends! It's that time of year again-- cue the scary music-- time for end-of-the-year testing! 

This year I've been trying some new strategies to keep my kids engaged in our review! Check them out below:
This first idea came from Not So Wimpy Teacher. My fellow 3rd grade teachers and I each took a strand of common core math and focused on that strand in our room. (For example, I had "Measurement and Data")

Next, we each came up with our own activity or game to entertain a group of 3rd graders for 30 minutes at a time. I used some centers I had purchased off TPT. Some other ideas included a Jeopardy styled game or using student computers for Study Island. 

Finally, we set up a schedule and spent 1 entire day on math review. Each class rotated around and ended up covering every math strand. The kids loved it! Also, we made it sports themed-- so each teacher wore a referee shirt (I bought this one from Amazon) and the kids wore a jersey or team shirt. 

We also took this idea and adapted it for ELA. For ELA we had 6 rooms: Test Taking Strategies, Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry, Writing, and Language Arts. 
A 2nd idea I've been using for a few weeks now involves raffle tickets. I bought a large roll from Walmart-- you can also order them from Amazon. As we've been reviewing-- I reward students for correct answers, effort, or high scores on review sheets with a ticket. They write their names on the back of the ticket and stick it into a tub. At the end of the day I randomly pull out 5 names-- and those students can choose from a tangible prize (think Dollar Tree) or a coupon (think "sit in teacher chair"-- always a favorite). It has helped motivate some of my little slackers!
As a teacher you know you can't take yourself too seriously-- and it's good for the kids to see you have fun every once in awhile! Every year before our big MAP test-- we hold an assembly for our kids. This assembly usually consists of a silly skit (highlighting the "do's" and "don'ts" of MAP testing), motivational speakers, and a special music video we make ahead of time for our kids. 

That's right-- every year for the past 5 years I've participated in a motivational MAP parody video! Almost every year I've written the lyrics to match a popular song-- and then my fellow teachers and I record ourselves singing. We film a goofy video. We edit and publish the video on YouTube. Then we show it to our kids AND the rest of world. We are not ashamed! 

Here is this year's video: 


I don't know about you-- but I know my 3rd graders really love getting little treats on their desks-- especially treats that come with an encouraging note! If you'd like to purchase your own copy-- click HERE or on the picture below. Hope your kiddos enjoy it! 
So there you have it-- a few simple ways to make testing go a little more easily! How do you help get your kids mentally ready for such a big day?