Hmmmmm. We are now approaching state testing time. It's not here yet, but its coming. That leads me to several thoughts. I'm not going to get into the politics of testing....I think we all know where we stand on that and are sick of discussing it. I'm going to focus, instead, on how to prepare kids, and how much of our preparation is not about content.
Kids get stressed about so many aspects of testing. It is so important to take away their anxiety! For this reason, it's important to practice and coach them, make them familiar with all aspects of it. These include things you may not think of. Here are some ideas:
- room arrangement. If you will be moving furniture, or seats, do it at least a week ahead of time so that's not scary.
- what will the test look like? If possible, make your unit tests and tickets out out of past state tests. Not from a test bank, but actually from the test. This way they look the same.
- what will the format of the answer sheet be. Make sure they are familiar with this and how to fill it out well ahead of time.
- let them use class time to study, with structure. For example, I took 15 minutes of class this week to have them get into partners and quiz each other in vocabulary words. They could either read the definition and have their partner guess the word, or give clues and guess the word. They got really into it, and started competing and cheering each other on! A the end we talked about ways they could study vocabulary at home. Many realized they could do this with other family members, or even on the bus.
So simple, but they need to be explicitly taught these skills and made to feel comfortable and confident.