The HappyEdugator

The HappyEdugator
People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

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Monday, April 15, 2013

The Week Before Testing!

Some people are already finished with state testing, or testing this week, but we are scheduled for our tests next week. I think this is my most challenging week of the year. I was all ready to go this morning, with ideas for games, activities and brain breaks to get the kids motivated and engaged. Then, poof, misfortune! My back went out and I could not move! I stayed up all night, trying to lay in a comfortable position, but it just got worse and worse, and by this morning, I knew I was not going to be able to work, much less drive to work! Disaster!!
I called in for a substitute, and a friend drove me to the doc, who gave me three prescriptions and told me to stay out through Thursday!!! Yikes! I feel so frustrated, because I am helpless to help my kiddos right now when I can't even bend over to put my shoes on.  So, I am assigning them lots of test prep book work, and a colleague is going to bring me their work so I can at least give them feedback!
Here is a Pinterest board that may help you with ideas for Standardized Test Prep:
http://pinterest.com/HappyEdugator/standardized-test-prep/
I usually do a few things different to stimulate the kids and get them engaged this last week before testing. I like to try and make test prep fun! So, my plans have been shot out of the water this year! However, I can still share them here with you, and maybe you will find some ideas to help you get ready for the big test. Here are a few strategies that have worked well for me in the past:

Individual Whiteboards: I did this last week, and my kids loved it! They hardly realized that they were actually working! I used one of my PowerPoints to ask them practice questions, and they wrote down their answers on a whiteboard. You need to have individual whiteboards for everyone in the class. One way is to go to Lowe's and get their white marker board for about $11, and have the staff cut the sheet into 12 individual boards. Here is a link to the site:  Lowe's shower boards - have them cut it for you.
Supply them with dry erase markers - you can get these cheap at the dollar store, but the EXPO brand markers are the best ones I have found and last the longest. I think they are worth paying a bit more for. I cut up old washcloths to use for erasers. when students answer the questions, have them hold up their boards, and then after you have made a quick assessment and seen everyone's effort, show them the answer to check. They love not being on the spot and get instant feedback!

PowerPoint Games: Getting ready for a long pencil and paper test sometimes requires a little fun! There are many PowerPoint templates on the internet for you to build your own games, but you can also get some ready made ones, too. Games that simulate game shows are very popular and engaging to the kids. I play a game of Who-Wants-to-Win-a-Million-Dollars-Language-Arts-Review-PowerPoint or Nonfiction-Vocabulary-You-Should-Know-Game-Show-PowerPoint for starters. Language-Arts-Game-Show-PowerPoint is another favorite one! I also like to use Hidden-Treasure-PowerPoint-Review-Game-For-Any-Question-Set for quick review of a set of questions. The winner gets a new pencil or pen! :)

UP and OUT: My kids like to get up and move, so a change of scene is a great way to practice. Schedule a trip to the computer lab to work on a certain skill on the computer, which is great if you have internet based curriculum such as www.myskillstutor.com, Study Island, or Brain Pop, or you may just assign some practice on a learning game site such as Fun Brain. Also, go to the media center! If your media specialist is really cool, like ours, she might even lead a game or an activity for you. It's fun for thekids to get content delivered in a different way from a different person. Another place to go, is a hallway, I like to put up answers to questions on a wall randomly, and students have to hit the answers with a flyswatter. Great game and they can take out their pent up frustrations out on a wall. :)


CLASSROOM GAMES: Scoot is a popular game to play in class, as well as Around the World and I Have...Who Has. Musical chairs is a good one...keep a chair for everyone, but when the music stops, the last one to sit must answer a question
Picture
Beach balls can be a fun review, too. You need: Beach ball, tape, and questions typed out and cut apart.  How to play the game:  Tape the questions to the ball, divide the classroom into two teams.  One student will hit the ball to the other team (Assign a consequence to students who hit the ceiling or hit the ball too hard for another student to catch) When the student on the other team catches the ball, he or she will answer the question nearest to their right thumb. If the student is able to answer the question, it becomes a volley (no point is scored, the ball is hit to the other team).  Once the ball is hit to the opposing team, they have a chance to answer whichever question is nearest to the right thumb of the student that catches the ball. If a student does not answer the question correctly, the opposing team scores a point only if they can answer the question correctly. This is a  fun and interactive game at all grade levels.

So, as I write this, I am trying to think of some engaging activities I can send to the substitute who will be taking my place this week. I hope I can!

Thanks for reading!
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Good luck on your state tests!
Deborah Hayes
aka HappyEdugator

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