It’s that time of year that many teachers dread, reviewing for the state test. Between loads of data, assessments, and worksheets that you just feel have to get done, many of us can become overwhelmed.
Well, I’m here to share with you some practical ways I incorporate reviewing for the test without the overwhelm for you or your students. These tips allow you to collect data, get to know your students’ needs and proficiencies all while having fun.
Tip #1: Incorporate Spiral Reviews into your Daily Routine
An easy way to ensure students are practicing previously taught skills is by completing spiral reviews. The main goal of a spiral review is to help students stay fresh on skills they have seen and learned throughout the year. The state test is a culmination of the year’s worth of learning so having students complete a quick daily practice, will help them review and be ready to answer all types of questions at the time of the test.
A simple way I incorporate spiral reviews into my classroom’s routine when getting ready for the state test, is by having it be part of my warm-up activity. As students walk into my classroom, they can complete their quick review, we check it as a class, and we can move on to the day’s lesson.
By checking this together, I can also provide students with an immediate refresher lesson on anything they didn’t remember from the review.
If you want to make it even easier, grab my Printable/Digital Math NBT Review Sheets and start reviewing for the state test at the start of your day.
Tip #2: Stay Positive and Keep Students Motivated
State testing season can be a stressful time for teachers and students alike. The state test puts a lot of pressure on success. Reminding students that they are more than just a test is so important during this time of the year. Because there is so much emphasis put on this test, it’s important that your students understand they just need to try their best.
A really easy way I incorporate positive talk into my classroom everyday is by making it a point to remind students on a whole group or individual level of how much they know or how far they have come. You’d be surprised how far a positive affirmation can go.
For example, if we just finished checking our spiral review and I noticed all students answered the first question correctly, I’ll make sure to point out how their efforts have really made a difference and how proud they should feel.
The point is to build up the confidence of the students in your class so they feel empowered and remember that they have it within them to succeed on the day of the state test.
Tip #3: Collect Data and Group Students
Part of reviewing for the state test is knowing where your students stand when it comes to the standards they will be tested on. Before I had a good system in place, I used to get easily overwhelmed by all the data I had to go through. I found that a simple way to check for student mastery of standards is by having them complete a quick assessment that is based on just one standard at a time.
After they complete the short assessment, I can then take this data and use it to drive my whole group and differentiated instruction. It also helps me group my students by their needs and proficiencies.
A quick way I check for standards mastery in Math is by using my Report Card Remediation Assessments. Each worksheet focuses on just one standard and gives me a clear snapshot of who has and has not mastered that skill. I can use this information to pinpoint exactly what my class’ focus should be.
Tip #4: Make it Fun
Let’s face it, if you give your students worksheet after worksheet to review for the state test, you’re going to lose them! That’s why I like to add competitions, timers, manipulatives, and anything else that will make reviewing fun. Even though they really are just reviewing with a worksheet, they will barely notice if you make it seem like a game. Let your students work out a math problem using an Expo marker on their desk, set a timer, and turn it into a competition. What a game-changer!
Another simple way to turn a state test review worksheet into a competition is by awarding each question a certain amount of points. Questions can then be completed individually, in partners, or by tables.
Set a timer and watch your students practice skills while enjoying themselves. They will give these questions their all because they want to collect as many points as possible. I like to use my Fraction Review Worksheet as a friendly competition.
Students can review for their state test and have fun. Everyone wins!
Reviewing for the state test can feel intimidating at times so I really hope you find these tips to be helpful and motivational. At the end of the day, remember you know your class and students better than anyone else and any way you decide to review for the test is perfectly fine!