We always want to be prepared for all things in our classroom, but one thing that is sometimes challenging but essential is being prepared for State Testing. Today, I am hopeful that I can provide a few test prep strategies and ideas to inspire you. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do as a teacher to have success. Sometimes teachers are frightened or might go into the season with a negative mindset- it is important as educators to change that. Testing is not going away so… We can look at the bright side of any testing as the opportunity to show the growth students have made in the time that they have been with you in your classroom. I always tell my students it is your time to shine and show off to the world all the things Mrs. Ortiz has taught you! You would be surprised how your mindset and your positive view can have a lasting affect on your students and their learning!
There is more that goes into test prep than just the material itself. For example, many students get nervous about tests or have a difficult time concentrating. Over the past 15 years, I have been in testing grade levels. It is sometimes stressful but I try to stay positive [keep that positive mindset]. I do know that bombarding students with practice tests is NOT fun for the teacher or the students. Therefore, as a teacher we want to focus on growing our students but not overwhelming them.
Tips for test prep for state testing
- Spend time doing daily reviews. Preparing for exams can be overwhelming, especially for children in younger grades. Rather than dumping all of the practice tests on them at once, it’s important to spend time reviewing one area each day. Here are some tools that can help your students: click here to preview
- Focus on trouble areas. Are you finding that more of your students are struggling with math? If so, you will want to focus on this a little bit more during your test prep.
- Teach kids test taking strategies. Give them tips on what to do when they feel unsure of an answer, such as making their most educated guess and moving onto the next question. I developed some strategies that help my students. Seeing these displayed is often a simple reminder for them. Click here to see these.
- Focus on the positives. Remind the students how far they have come this year. Have them write out all the things they are proud of knowing and learning. Get students to create motivational quotes to motivate each other. I use these Growth Mindset Posters and let them create their motivational posters, they enjoy this.
- Celebrate something special about each kid. Whether you do daily, weekly, semester recognition’s for your students, this opportunity is optimal. You should recognize something special about each student before their testing. I would write each student a special note celebrating something about them. It could be something big on how much they have improved on learning their math facts, or something as special as how kind they are to their friends. These celebrations mean a lot to kids especially when they are nervous about a testing they should not be nervous about.
- Ask for help from parents. Let them know when you will be doing your state test preparation and ask them to make sure that their child is well-rested and eats a well-balanced breakfast. You will want to do the same thing during the week of state testing. Parents appreciate these tips. Click below for a freebie I send home to parents.
Test Prep Resources
- Test Prep Bundle: Includes Test Stems Questions to use with any text. 2 sets of Mentor Reading Texts with higher level thinking questions, Reading Graphic Organizers and other surprises!
- Reading Test Prep Comprehension Passages: I create many sets including monthly sets with fiction, nonfiction and poetry to use for weekly assessments or other activities.
- Writing Test Prep Activities: I have many resources to test and prep students for Writing Testing. Lots of prompts providing different practice guides.
- Motivational Awards: It is also important to motivate and encourage our students, so these are positive for testing prep season!
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