Seriously, how did it go so fast? Here we are almost to the end of the year, enjoying the Spring weather and looking forward to lazy days of Summer … BUT … we have to get through end of year testing first!
Here are a few tips to make test prep successful:
Tip 1: Prioritize areas of need – I don’t know where you are, but here in Texas we have SO MUCH to teach in a school year! When it comes time to review and get ready for testing it can be overwhelming trying to review it all! So take some time to sit down and reflect on what skills your students need to review the most. It is often different every year with each group of students. Spend extra time on the skills your students need the most.
Tip 2: Use student strengths to build confidence. So after you reflect on which key objectives and skills you need to review the most, spend some time reflecting on what your students are really good at! Review these skills (less than priority skills, but still review) to keep them fresh in your student’s minds and also to build confidence! If the students can see what they are good at, they will not be as stressed about what they still need to practice. I like to encourage my students by pointing out skills they found difficult at the beginning of the year and have now mastered! I say things like “Wow! Remember how hard ___ was at the beginning of the year and look how great you are with it now!” or “You have learned so much! You are so ready to ACE this on your test!.”
Tip 3: Make it fun! Realistically you can’t make every second of every day fun, but do what you can when you can. When students are having fun they are more engaged in learning! Play games, set up scavenger hunts, play music or decorate your classroom like the circus! Anything to keep your class from feeling so bogged down by the stress of “The Test”.
Tip 4: Smile! This might not sound like a test taking tip, but trust me on this one! When your students see you all super stressed out, they feel it! Smiling will help everyone relax! Maybe some yoga? Or a funny cat video on YouTube?
Tip 5: Add movement! Take some breaks to move around! If kids are in their seats too long they get sleepy and bored! Play multiplication games with a beach ball, take a walk around your hallway, do jumping jacks … have a 3 minute “dance party” as a break between lessons. You could even use a Math Song to dance to! I love this Eight Times Tables Song!