The time has come where standardized testing is upon us. Admin is talking about it constantly, data is being poured over and reviewed, and we are beginning our “countdown to testing” review activities. It’s a stressful time, and can be very stressful for our kiddos too. Today’s post is from two of my friends Tiffany and Courtney. I asked them to share some review activities with us. The great thing about these review activities is that they DON’T have to be strictly used for grades testing- these can be adapted and modified for younger grades.
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I met Courtney and Tiffany through school. Courtney was a Teacher Fellow at my school the year before me. Tiffany and I started teaching the same year at our school….so we were newbies together! Both Courtney and Tiffany have taught 4th and 5th grade. They are AMAZING at what they do. I often think I am a pretty good teacher…And then I am reminded of these two ladies and humbled very quickly! 😉
They started a blog and a vlog at the beginning of the 16-17 school year called Mustard Seed Teaching. I asked them to share about their standardized testing review processÂ because I haven’t done that in a few years. Here in Texas we take the STAAR, but these activities can be applied to any standardized testing situation.
I LOVE their activity ideas in this post. Mainly because they are activities that you can do with ANY content. They also are super engaging and fun!
So without further adieu, here are my friends Tiffany and Courtney!
Standardized Testing Review Activities
A great, fun, and engaging way to review for the big (dreaded) STAAR test is to do it with games!
You can use these games with things you’ve already created, problems you find online, etc. These games require very little teacher prep – the only thing you need to really prep is the most important: STRUCTURE.
Before setting up review games please remember: we cannot assume fun always leads to purposeful learning. Read one of our previous blog posts for suggestions for planning skill practice activities.
For all of these games, use rally coach or any other cooperative learning structures!
Pirate Game ($$) Available on amazon
The goal is to keep the pirate in the barrel
1) The players will decide what color they represent.
2) The first player will flip over a problem card.
3) Everyone will solve the problem and show all of their work.
4) The first player will explain their answer and the group members will discuss if there are disagreements.
5) The players who get the problem correct will stick a sword in the pirate one at a time.
The players who get the problem incorrect will not be able to stick a sword into the barrel.
6) Repeat these steps until a player pops the pirate to jump out of the barrel. When the pirate jumps out, reset the game and start over.
Card War ($) With a stack of cards
The goal is to get as many cards as possible
1) Split the deck of cards evenly between players.
2) The players will solve the first problem and show all of their work.
3) When players are finished answering the problem, they will discuss the problem and answer.
4) If players get the problem correct, they will play one round of war.
With their individual deck of cards and without looking, each player will flip over their top card.
The player with the higher card will win the cards that were played.
The players that get the problem incorrect will throw a card from their deck in the middle for the next round.
5) Repeat these steps until time is up and or if a player runs out of cards.
6) The player with the most cards wins!
Erase or draw (Pair) (Free) With dry erase markers or any sort of writing utensil
The goal is to complete a full stick figure person (one head, one body, two legs, two arms)
1) The players start off with a blank slate.
2) All players will solve the problem and show all of their work. When players are finished answering the problem, they will discuss the problem and answer.
3) The players that get the problem correct will play one round of erase or draw.
Players will play rock, paper, scissors to see who gets the first turn.
The players can decide to either draw a body part OR erase one of their opponent’s body part.
Players that get the problem incorrect lose a turn.
4) Repeat these steps until a player gets their stick figure person complete!
5) The player that finishes their stick figure person wins the round.
6) Players will continue to play until the time has ended. The player that wins the most rounds of erase or draw, wins!
Alternative way to play (as seen in gif above):
1)Players start with a plain stick figure.
2) When students get an answer correct they can draw or erase one thing from either their stick figure or their partner’s stick figure.
**Please note that all of these games take teacher modeling and set expectations!
See! How easy is that?!?! I also appreciate how they emphasize the importance of structure. I always think it is so important to practice things multiple times without content so they get used to the structure. Then, when you are ready to have them work independently while you are pulling students, you can trust that they know the expectations.
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As I mentioned above, Courtney and Tiffany have both been on the podcast. They have also helped me out with another blog post about engaging and motivating older students…especially towards the end of the year when those fifth graders become to cool for school ;).
Until next time,
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