My STEM Units

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Final Preps for the Big State Test

Can you believe we made it!?  It seems like just yesterday that 25 strangers walked timidly into the classroom.  Now, 8 months later, those same 25 children come bounding in at 9:00 every morning, filled with stories of what happened at home, over the weekend, or on the way to school.  They came in with basic multiplication facts and now can multiply any multi-digit number by another multi-digit number.  They came in able to read most words, but now have the tools to figure out ANY word they may encounter.  They have worked hard and are so ready to "Show What They Know"!

I am not a fan of cramming before the test.  One reason is, I feel that if they don't know it by now with awesome, hands-on lessons, they aren't going to learn it by doing mindless worksheets.  Another reason is, I feel that if I feel stressed and pressure them, they will think I don't believe in them and then they won't believe in themselves either.  Here are some things I have done in my class to relieve stress and prepare our minds for the Big. State. Test:

1.  Encouraging Letters:  We write encouraging letters to our Reading Buddies.  Our buddies were in 2nd grade and will take the Stanford 10.  This was their first year taking a high-stakes test, whereas my students had taken tests for 2 years now.  In return, the buddies wrote letters of encouragement to us.

2.  Stretching:  I teach stretching positions to my students.  I did this every year and I like the way it calmed the room down and brought a sense of community to the kids as they learn this new skill together.  I taught the poses the week prior, so the following week we did them in the AM and I didn't need to take the time to teach the positioning.  We also get all the giggles and insecurity out the week before.  I use this website for pics of the positions.

3.  Encouraging Posters:  At the third quarter parent-teacher conferences, the parents made encouraging posters for their students (I stole borrowed the idea from my good friend Tonya Bidtah).  I hung them in my room to encourage the kids during the test.  If they ever got stressed out, they can look up and see Grandma's note to them or Dad's encouraging word.  Hint: the glitter REALLY pops on the neon posters!

4.  Testing Treats:  I found this cute blog a few years ago.  Jessica at the Polka Dotted Teacher blog created these cute printables.  

5.  Inspirational Videos:  Every morning, I play a different inspirational video set to popular music.  This one is especially for our state (Arizona).

What cool ideas do you do in your class/home to prepare your kids for the high-stakes test?

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