March 28, 2013

Preparing for the test & a Spring Sale

Many upper grade bloggers are starting to feel the pressure of the test--me being one of them! (Especially now, since our governor decided to make test scores 20% of our teacher evaluation--which is a whole other can of worms!)

In all honesty, the last thing I want to do is teach towards a test (it helps that I have no idea what this test looks like haha!) 

In preparation for the unknown, I've been working on teaching strategies to help the students tackle the test.

This chart to show the strategies students need when taking a multiple choice math test. 

I really wanted to show the students what to do when they take a test--so many students just read the question or math problem and circle an answer. They don't really know what else to do!

This chart shows the strategies for taking a reading multiple choice test.

With both the charts, we practice how to do each strategy. I take copies of old tests and make packets for the students. I model some of the strategies using a model text and they try out the same strategies on another text.

I start slow (usually in November) and practice each strategy in isolation. As the test gets closer, I model how to use more than one strategy at a time.

Right now, we're working on pacing. I teach a Saturday Test Prep class for my students. The first session, I gave them 50 minutes to complete 5 passages with 30 multiple choice questions. No one finished--the highest question number being #19! Yikes!

To practice pacing, I assess the length of the text and the number of questions using one passage at a time. I give the students an idea of how long it should take and I set the timer. As they work on the passage, I remind coach them into doing some of the strategies from the chart, as well as give them an idea of where they should be (finished reading the text; beginning to work on multiple choice questions etc.) at a given time. They're slowly getting better :)

On a side note--there's a huge spring sale happening:
You can visit my TpT store or my TN store for 20% off :) 

Thank you to Tonya from Tonya's Treats for Teachers for creating this super cute graphic :)

Happy Spring :)


  1. Our biggest problem is stamina. We try to simulate testing conditions so the kids can build up the stamina they need to get through all those consecutive passages. It's brutal! I hate that we have to put the kids through these hoops. Good luck with your state testing, Stacy @

  2. Oh gosh. I was just saying today that I haven't even started test taking strategies because I am sooooo behind in the curriculum!! Now I'm really feeling some urgency about this now! I think you are in GA right? We test in 2 weeks (with spring break in the middle). Not looking forward to it. And it's so hard when we have no idea what the test will look like this year or probably next with PARCC rolling out!

    Hang in there! I'm with you friend!
    Collaboration Cuties

  3. I have two weeks until testing. Eek! I hate teaching for the test, too...but I really love your charts. I've taught bits of them, so I think I will try making something similar for our class. Our tests in AZ our untimed, thankfully, so I can skip the pacing part. That would kill a few of my kids...

    I love your blog design! Isn't Megan great?! :)