Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Testing Tuesday: Assessment Prep Stations

In preparation for assessment season I'd like to share a few ideas and tips for thing that I do to help prepare my students for their state tests.  We are still going off state standards for the next couple years and will be gradually moving towards Common Core.  I know things will have to change when we make that transition, but I'm not going to think about that quite yet!

A few years ago my two fellow third grade colleagues and I decided to change things up a bit for our state assessment prep.  We don't switch classes for different subjects like some schools do, but we thought that rotating our students and doing test prep groups would be a fun way to mix things up a bit.  Each teacher has unique tips, tricks, and lessons for teaching different skills so it's a nice way to share that with all of the students in our grade level.

Here's how it works...

From January to March for 30 minutes 3 days a week we rotate our classes and do a small mini lesson, game, or review session based on our tested indicators.  We typically do Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday since we have a lot of Mondays and Fridays off this time of year.  It's sometimes hard to eek out an extra 30 minutes from the day, but sometimes other things (like science, SS, and unfortunately writing) sometimes get cut.

Each teacher works on a specific skill each week.  For ease of planning, I teach reading lessons, one of my coworkers teaching reading lessons, and the other alternates between reading and math.  The nice thing about it is that we're teaching one lesson three times...  Just once to each class!

We typically do these stations at the end of the school day, so I try to do activities that are a little exciting and engaging for the students.  I use Quia a lot to create games and other activities for us to do, so that we're not stuck doing another worksheet or practice test.  (I hope to share some of my Quia activities on here soon after I make a few.)

If you have any great tips and tricks on prepping your students for state assessments, please share!  I'd love to get some fresh, new ideas!  :)

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