Sunday, March 16, 2014

Make Test Prep Fun!

In my multi-age setting, it's tough to find a test prep activity that suits ALL grade levels while reviewing the content for each standardized test. Standardized test week is a common anxiety-provoking time of year for our students with emotional and behavioral needs.

I decided this year that I would make test prep fun and engaging. Here's what I'm planning.

Throughout this week, we will have decades celebrations-- 50s on Tuesday, 60s on Wednesday, 70s on Thursday, and 80s on Friday. I grabbed a couple of cheap decades banners and printed a couple decade pictures from the internet. I also purchased some plastic trophies.

I made decades slideshows that explain how to take standardized tests. Our students need explicit instruction in this area. Clear expectations yield lessened anxiety, which is so important for our kids with EBDs this time of year.

And the bundle:

Using free streaming Pandora music stations, I'm going to play some music from the decades for our anticipatory set. Then, I'm going to use my decades slideshows to explicitly teach test taking skills and expectations.

Every couple of slides, I'm going to play some more decades music and ask review questions aligned to state standards, using (paid) and (free). For my kiddos who are not of testing age, I'm going to use the Powerpoints and review sheets that I'd normally use from their daily lessons. I'm going to give students the opportunities to answer their questions in game-like situations (e.g., write letters on white boards or iPads, flash in on game show buzzers, dance to a corner of the room labeled with the answer choices, etc.).

I also grabbed some prizes related to the decades as fun keepsakes to remember our lessons.

Here's to hoping for a low-stress, fun standardized test prep week! [sigh]

I'll keep you posted on how it goes. I'll try to snap some pictures, too!

How do you keep anxiety low while prepping for standardized assessments? Please share in the comments below!

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