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Test Preparation

Compiled By: Risa

A collection of strategies, advice and materials for preparing students for the high-stakes standardized tests. Some ideas may need to take place throughout the school year, while others address last-minute or week of testing.

Positive Thinking Test Prep Songs
Posted by: Risa

I had been looking for some quotes that I could use to keep my students thinking positively as they prepare for our state assessments. As I looked through the quotes I also came across some 'affirmations' that triggered ideas for some quickie 'jingles'. Sooooo... I tinkered with some thoughts and came up with these songs that my school is using in our assemblies to get our students to start thinking positively about the upcoming tests.

This is an attachment created on Microsoft Word. There are three 'songs' that are written to the tunes of (1) Twinkle, Twinkle, (2) This Old Man, and (3) Itsy-Bitsy Spider

As always, I figure if it's something I had been looking for, others will find them useful, too! Hope so!;)

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Here are the tips that I used
Posted by: teacher

Testing Help


Test Prep Books:
1)E-Z Test Readiness
2) Core Skills: Test Preparation (Steck-Vaugh)
3) Scoring High
4) Test Ready
5) Teach and Test Language

Websites Good for Testing:

Both are well worth the money.

Test prep materials are made into binders for each student. This makes it easier for me, if everything is in one place.

I also use these books for homework a month before testing. This gets the students use to the testing format.

Sample Test in Testing Format: I give my students practice test all throughout the year. I use the sample test items found on my state’s Dept. Of Ed. Site. I also use the sample items from the other states. (Some might argue that different states have different benchmarks. Well I simply edit (skip number 3) etc.. I also cut apart the math questions, to use for different learning games.

Daily Morning Work: Evan Moor’s Daily Math, Language, and Paragraph Editing.

Centers: I do centers on Fridays. This gives my students a change in our regular routine. All of my centers are based on skills that are tested. I use the following for centers: Evan Moor’s Take It to Your Seat, The Mailbox Learning Center, The Mailbox Math Skills Workout (this one is really good), The Mailbox Power Practice Math, and The Mailbox Power Practice Language. I am a big fan of the Mailbox!

My school uses “Skill of the Week” for Reading. For example, Cause/Effect week, Fact and Opinion week, etc... The skill is used in other subjects as well. (We have a Skill of the Week bin next to the copy machine. All teachers (4th/5th grades only) copy their resources and place them in the Skill of the Week bin.

AR is a big deal at my school. We have classroom, as well as, school incentives in place to motivate students to read, read, read.

The Mailbox: Cornerstone of Comprehension Book. Grade 5 is one of my favorite resources. This book has a story for each week (18 weeks in all). The stories are high interest stories that the kids really enjoy. The story highlights between eight to ten vocabulary words each week. Each story also gives activities (black-lines included) for different reading skills. For example, story one includes activities on vocabulary, fact/opinion, sequence of events, character traits, and imagery.

The Month Before Testing: A month before testing I use jeopardy and other learning games to review for the test. This really pump-up the kids before testing.

Root words & word parts
Posted by: FxyWhtCoco

I found it easier to teach my students about root words while I was teaching about prefixes/suffixes. I taught 3 or 4 common prefixes. Put words on the board and broke them into the word parts and explained the meaning of the word and how it could be decoded since we now knew the meaning of the prefix/suffix. We practiced and practiced for several days about 15 minutes each day. They tell me whether it is a prefix or suffix, what the prefix/suffix means, what the meaning of the word is, what the root word is, and how to spell the root word. (Sounds time consuming, but it is actually very quick when they get the hang of it!) Then we palyed a game. I split the class into groups. I gave each student a list of common prefixes and suffixes. I then wrote words on the board that were on the list. I chose words that we had not previously discussed. When it was that team's turn they had to answer all of the above questions to get 2 points. If they answer wrong another team can steal for 1 point. My students love this game!!! They can't understand why we can't play it everyday!

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I have a suggestion
Posted by: JS

This is a great question! I teach fourth grade in NYC where the ELA is our big test. If the students don't pass with a minimal score they are most likely retained in the grade if they can't pass the test again after taking summer school. Lots of pressure from the principal to teach strategies for the test. In fact she has even said that we are to focus on teaching these strategies.......sacrificing other curriculum.....until it's all over at the end of January. Let me tell you I HAVE LEARNED A LOT!!!!!!!
Feel free to email if you have any questions.

Now to your question....One of the things I teach my students is the "3 STEP STRATEGY" for reading passages and answering questions. This strategy works for all subjects and where students have to answer questions after reading a story or non-fiction. I got the idea from Kaplan published test prep materials.
Step 1 is READ THE QUESTIONS FIRST. This gives them an idea of what they should be reading for. They'll know to look for particular details before reading.
Step 2: Look for the two W's. The two W's are Who/What the passage is about (the who does not have to be a person or particular character. It can be a "thing" depending on the topic of the article) The second W is WHAT. What is the action, or WHAT is happening.

Step 3: Read the passage carefully.

This HAS to be practiced over and over. Many times students want to rush through the reading, but I have to constantly remind them to read their questions first. It has helped some of my students tremendously and they feel more confident before they begin reading. This doesn't just work for tests, it also works for content area reading where students many times have to read a chapter and then do the "Comprehension Quesitons" at the end.

SAT9 testing
Posted by: Janet

Our district allows us to look at the actual test from the year before. Find out if you are allowed to do this. We aren't allowed to copy anything or to use an actual test question that we remember but it gives you an idea of what is required and the way the questions are posed to the children so you can be sure they understand what is being asked of them. You can also get an idea of how many questions there are on the test of a particular nature, i.e. five questions on rounding but only one on fractions so I'll spend more time teaching rounding than I will fractions. (This is not true. Just an example.) We also use the test prep booklets but I agree with someone alse who said not to overdo or they will get bored with it. Hope this helps. Janet

Pre-Testing Stress
Posted by: Fiddle4Fun

Last night was the first really bad night I've had this season. I could not stop thinking about the things that I haven't even touched on this year, let alone done well. And I kept comparing this year with last year, already thinking about open house, the weedy school garden, end-of-the-year field trips, an upcoming IEP meeting, and... EVERYTHING. It's all coming to a head again...

And yes, the kids are more challenging than ever. Nice weather, spring break coming... I guess it's only natural to check out.

As far as students not being allowed to review what they've learned all year: isn't that just good teaching to do that? I don't get it. You teach, move on, and then come back and review what you've learned. It's silly to NOT do that.

I've heard that some schools hold weekend test prep sessions sponsored and led by parents, complete with really great prizes for kids who attend. Another reason there's a gap between the scores of the haves vs. the have-nots, I guess.

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Posted by: teachfla

1. Ours took place Feb. 27- Mar. 10.
2. Talking about it from the first day of school. We sent home weekly short stories and questions similar to what kids would be seeing in order to prepare students and parents. We also did one 45-minute session in state-sanctioned FCAT-prep workbooks every week. Not too much, but just enough to let them become more comfortable with the skills they'd need (every year one kid invariably says around December "Hey, we're learning this in reading class" and everybody nods. Duh... but it takes that kid for everyone to really calm down about the whole thing.)
3. Nothing. My admin is really cool about the whole thing. Their smartest idea is every time we do practice tests, the 504 kids actually leave the room and go with their real proctor. It makes everyone more comfortable on the actual test day.

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Larry Bell's 12 Power Words-poster, cards
Posted by: Risa

Someone posted that they had attended a presentation by speaker, Larry Bell, where he explained his '12 Power Words' which will help students be more successful on their tests if they know the meanings of the 'Power Words'.

I looked them up on the internet and made them into a larger size for posting and a smaller size for each student. The versions I made are in different fonts and colors but, since we don't all have the same fonts on our computers, I am posting versions that are in the same font (times) and in black and white.

I figure if it's something I can use, others might also be able to use them, too! ;)

The words are: Analyze, Evaluate, Describe, Infer, Support, Explain, Summarize, Compare, Contrast, Predict, Trace, and Formulate

(1) Larry Bell's 12 Power Words chart-(3 pages to cut and paste together to make a chart.)
(2) Larry Bell's 12 Power Words-1 page (smaller size of the chart)
(3) Larry Bell's 12 Power Words-definitions-1 page (may also be used for a matching game when cut apart)

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Raising Test Scores
Posted by: Risa

I agree wholeheartedly with the previous posts. I was amazed that my own students' test scores also went up last year, because that was the most difficult group I've had in all of my long teaching career!

During our one-on-one meeting with the principal to review test scores for my last group and set new goals for the current group, I was asked what I did to help them all increase their test scores. I told her that, despite the constant discipline interruptions, I focused on teaching with and having students use academic language as well as higher level questioning (Bloom's Taxonomy). This was especially the case when working on developing reading comprehension. I also made sure I was consistent with teaching general test taking strategies.

I work in a low socio-economic area where most students speak Spanish in the home, so I worked extensively on vocabulary development which included work with multiple meaning words, prefixes and suffixes, Greek and Latin root words, teaching and using figurative language such as similes, metaphors, and idioms. I suppose it all boiled down to focusing on helping my students learn how to find word meanings from word parts in order to gain better reading comprehension.

I found many useful posts here on ProTeacher as well! As a matter of fact, your post reminded me that I started up a 'scrapbook' of PT posts for 'Test Prep' ideas. Right after I read your question, I went to make the collection 'public', so I think you should be able to find it in the 'Collections'. I think it's important that we start now and continue building on what we are doing throughout the school year so that students truly will be fully prepared and confident that they have done all they could to succeed.

I used internet resources extensively, as well. Here is one that I found useful:

ELA Types of Questions and Strategies

I also had my student use internet games to reinforce skills after they were taught. I posted my 'game' links on this thread:

Thanks for posing this question because, along with all that we are doing school-wide, it made me think about what worked last year, and what I need to start working on TOMORROW! :s)

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No title
Posted by: 1956BD

For the reading test I teach my students to read the questions first. Then as they read the story they know what information they are looking for. If they see an answer I teach them to underline it. When they have finished reading the story then they have to read the questions again. I make them go back to the text to find the answer. They have to read all four responses and cross off those that they know are not correct and then select the best answer and mark it. Then, next to the question, I make them write the paragraph # where they found the answer. In our test the paragraphs are numbered, but students could learn to do that too. This information also has to be underlined in the paragraph. It is a great deal of work and takes time, but it works because of all the rereading and searching. Our test is not timed so they can work as long as they need to.

I use the analogy of detectives with my students. I tell them that a good detective always checks his or her fact several times. If that means rereading or checking more than once for proof. that's O.K. I do a great deal of modeling this procedure with them, using sample test stories. Then I let them try one story on their own, then two, then three and finally one whole test of four stories about a week before the test. We go over their mistakes, most of the time in small groups.

In math I think the most difficult part is word problems and figuring out what operation needs to be done to solve it. We practice problem solving all year to prepare. I really emphasize the key words and phrases that mean add, subtract, multiply and divide. Vocabulary is important. The second thing that I think makes it difficult for the child is that the test is a mixed review. They have to do an addition problem, then division, then geometry, then number line , then subtraction..... You get the idea. That means their mind has to keep switching gears. In class we don't teach that way. We focus on multiplication for a couple of weeks, then geometry for a couple, then measurement for a couple, until we have taught all our units. That way of teaching is needed for the new material we have to teach, but at the same time we need to constantly be reviewing what they have already learned.

I teach math for an hour and a half each day. I spend an hour on my focused lesson or unit for that week. Then I spend a half hour on math fluency. We do a mixed review sheet each day so they learn to switch gears like they have to on the test. We also do timed tests on facts, review different types of problem solving, telling time, measurement, geometry vocabulary and anything else we have already learned.

When I started doing math fluency with my students I started seeing higher math scores on the state test.

I hope some of this helps you and your students.

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Brain Juice
Posted by: BirdSong

It sounds a little bizarre, but I stole this idea from a colleague of mine a few years ago. Each morning before testing, I give each students a small dixie cup of brain juice. We all recite a special "SMART PLEDGE" and drink all together. The pledge goes something like:

Today I will take a test
And I will not be afraid
I will certainly do my best
Because I am very smart today

The brain juice is a little Mellow Yellow (the caffeine stimulates the brain) and some green food coloring to make it look different. Kids try to guess what it is and some even suggest Mellow Yellow. Very quickly someone in class will announce that it cannot be Mellow Yellow because it is green. They beg me to tell them where I get it from, and I just say that I bought it at a special teacher store.

I did have a child that could not have caffeine, so hers was water with food coloring to match the rest.

I truly believe in Henry Ford's quote "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right." If children believe they will succeed, they will. The brain juice helps boost their confidence.

I also allow them to chew peppermint gum during the test. Studies show this helps calm their nerves.

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Test Taking Survival Kit
Posted by: KcK

I do a test taking survival kit I dont have access to the file right now,,, but here is the gist:

1 Peppermint for every test.... to boost your brain power!
1 Eraser... to get rid of those brain freezes (what I call mistakes in my room)
2 Pencils... to record all the knowledge you have learned
1 stick of gum for each test... to remind you to stick with it!
1 highlighter... for highlighting of course!
1 Hershey's Hug.. for all your hard work!

I also put the word out to the staff and ask for volunteers to adopt my kids the week of testing. Each day every student gets a little note from their person encouraging them. Some years I have a different person write to each child each day and some years I have the same person do it, but it is a secret santa kind of thing... then after testing the kids find out who adopted them. That is easier and more fun for the kids although they do like getting a different person each day too. :D

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A few thoughts
Posted by: Risa

First of all, I teach my students about relaxing their tensed muscles. In order to insure that all muscles are relaxed, we tighten and then relax each group. They sit up at their tables, uncross their hands feet, put their hands on their laps or on the table/desk. We start from the feet (or toes), tightening up the muscles for a count of 5 (or 10) seconds and release. I think we go in the following order, but, of course, you can change it to focus on any muscle group: toes, feet, ankles, calves, thighs, buttocks, stomach, back, shoulders, arms, neck and the most fun, is scrunching our faces and then releasing. I've done this many times, personally, when I feel I can't relax or when I need to 'de-stress' from a full day at work.

Next, we practing deep breathing. I tell them that it's important to concentrate and breathe deeply so that their brains get the oxygen it needs. We go through several minutes of just relaxing with inhaling and exhaling slowly to insure deep breathing from the lungs. Usually I do this with my students after we've gone through the muscle relaxing routine.

I always tell them that the two tecniques suggested above can be used any time, at home or at school when they are feeling nervous, stressed, very sad or just plain 'out of sorts'.

(A cute side story happened when I got to work late due to a major traffic accident. I called in and had someone take my students in to the room. As soon as I got to work, I rushed to my classroom and just blurted out my apologies for being so late, explaining what had happened on the freeway. I was in such a 'tizzy' trying to explain, when all of a sudden, one of my students, very quietly, from the back of the room motioned to me to calm down and then slowly whispered a couple of times "Brrrreeeathe... Breeeeeathe" to remind me of what I had often told them! Sure enough, I just stopped and while the whole class watched, with some joining in, I did a couple of deep breathing 'cleansing breaths'... and felt MUCH better! Whew!)

Another thing I do is have my students create and use their own affirmations. I give them a strip of paper and have them to write a brief message as if they want to encourage a little brother, sister or cousin. (If they write to themselves, they don't seem to be as considerate, but if it's to someone else, the affirmations seem to be more sincere. Go figure! :cool:) I tell them that when they start to feel tired or discouraged, they can read this little strip of paper, along with their breathing exercises, to get themselves re-focused on what they need to do.

The site below is what inspired some of these ideas. It looks like a site for high school or college, but I pulled out what was applicable to my fourth grade students.

Another idea I found online
("I'm prepared, not scared")

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One more thing-Visualization
Posted by: Risa

I take my students on a 'guided visualization' where they first go through the breathing exercises to get into a calm mood. Then I ask them to close their eyes and continue being aware of their breathing. (I don't have a pre-made script since I change it as needed, but I guide them through with word similar to the following...)

"You and a couple of friends are at a movie theater. You are sitting, talking and waiting for the movie to start. Soon, the lights are dimmed and everyone is quietly looking at the movie screen.

"You notice that the opening scene is of a classroom. Children are walking in, talking calmly but eager for the day to start. It seems they are getting ready for a test. The teacher hands out the test booklets and reads the directions to the class as they follow along. The camera shows some of the students' faces. You see that they are confident and focused on what they need to do. As they begin the test, you notice they are going through some of the routines you've learned about good test taking skills.

"As you watch this movie you suddenly realize that this is your classroom. You see yourself among the students taking this test. You can see that you are calm and relaxed. You have a look in your eyes that says you are ready and prepared for this test.

"You are reading the directions carefully. On this reading test, you quickly skim the test questions first. You go back to the reading passage and begin to concentrate on what you read. You pause when you come to a word you don't know and then go back to re-read the sentence so that the context clues will help you. You go to the questions, and eliminate the more obvious wrong answers. Then you remember that you can go back and skim the passage to find support for the answer you've chosen. You confidently mark your answer choice and move on the the next question.

"You find yourself feeling proud that you are using good test taking skills in this movie, knowing you will do the same whenever you take a test in your real classroom. You continue watching this movie, noticing that all of the students are confident, focused and alert the entire time they need to complete this test. As the movie fades out and the lights in the movie theater become brighter, you actually do feel that same confidence and eagerness that you saw in this movie.

"Keep this good feeling in mind as you continue your breathing... inhale.... exhale.... inhale.... exhale.... and when you are ready... open your eyes."

(Hope this made sense!)
I googled the terms 'visualization test-anxiety' and found, among many others, this page that has a similar suggestion for college level "test-anxiety reduction"

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Math and Reading
Posted by: camp823

Reading Strategies: UNWRAP
Underline the title
Number the paragraphs
Walk through the questions
Read the passage twice
Answer the Questions
Prove the answers twice (once in the passage-write the problem number, the other by the question- write the paragraph number)

Math Strategies: CUBES
Circle the numbers
Underline the labels
Bracket the question
Eliminate the extra information

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Here's what I use...
Posted by: lisakae2

Hope these help...

Cheerios - Cheering you to success or I'm CHEERing you on
Super Bubble Gum - I know you will do a SUPER job
Lucky Charms - Good LUCK today on your test
Starburst - You are a STAR or Shine like a STAR today
Licorice Twists - Don't let the test TWIST your mind
Hershey Hugs - A HUG from me to you to do the best that you can do

I am actually getting ready to present a workshop on this very topic. I am trying to come up with some HEALTHY treats with sayings for those schools who now have strict mandates on the sugar content of what they give the kids. Let me know if you get any more replies that I could use. Good luck!

I have so far...

Oranges - ORANGE you glad the tests are almost over????
Raisins - Keep RAISIN your head high...(still working on this one)
Pretzel Twists - (same as licorice above)

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Maybe these are what you wanted?
Posted by: Risa

Right after I left the previous post, I searched my files and found these. They were gathered from a variety of online sources and/or groups.

Day 1-Gum with a note that says: Blow the top off the test!
Day 2-Snickers-Let's not have any Snickers, just do your best!
Day 3-Starburst Candy- For a burst of energy to do a fantastic job
Day 4-Success all the way to the Milky Way
Day 5-Hugs and Kisses for putting forth your best effort!
Be a “smartie” and ACE this test! (smarties)
Blow the TOP off this test! (bubble gum)
A BURST of energy to do AWESOME! (starburst)
“KISS” your worries goodbye. Do great! (Hershey's kiss)
Don’t SNICKER !! Do your best! (mini Snickers)

1 pack of Smarties Candies - to boost your test taking brain power
1 pencil -- to help you record the knowledge you have learned
1 sticker -- to help you stick with the task at hand
1 eraser -- to use when you check over your work
1 Hershey's Hug -- for all the hard work you put into the test
1 highlighter -- to highlight all your success
1 pencil grip -- to get a grip on the task at hand


1 night of restful sleep
1 nutritious breakfast
1 positive attitude

Improved Test-taking Skills
Good Grades

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No title
Posted by: anngirl

I sure know what you mean about making it fun. My class won't concentrate 5 minutes if its not fun.

One thing I did last year is I made a paper chain with one link for each day until the test. This was a physical reminder to all of us how much time we had left until the tests. They loved it. At the end of the day I'd choose a special helper who was sitting quietly to rip off the link for the day.

For Valentines day last year I gave the class red pens as a gift. Then in the afternoon after all the festivities I gave them a reading passage (that had something to do w/ valentines) but the twist was that I had already done the work. They had to use their red pens to check and/or correct the work.

We also go over practice pages by letting everyone show their answer by getting up and going to a corner of the room labled with the letter. It really helps to get them up and moving.

I've cut up copies of their practice tests and posted them around the room. Students move in groups around the room and do the problem shown then they get to flip it over and check their work.

Just a few ideas...I'd be glad to hear more!

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Something Fun...
Posted by: Becca

Our school does a contest.
Each week the kids take a quiz in reading and math. Based off their scores (and the use of their strategies) they get a certain number of tickets.
Then on Friday afternoons, we have an assembly and a certain number of kids names are drawn from each grade. They get to shoot a basket, if they make it they get a prize. If they don't, they can ask a teacher or other school adult for "help".

Basically, they can get anyone to help until they make the basket. When they make the basket, they get a prize.

It is pretty motivating for the kids to want to get lots of tickets. I know most of you won't be able to do a school-wide activity, but you might be able to modify this for your rooms.

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For Grade3teacher --Question and Review Idea
Posted by: lbarrett

When you mentioned you have workbooks specifically for the tests, can you provide more information (what state, where you get them, cost, grade level, etc.)?

Also, here is a group review activity my students enjoy. Separate your students into four or five groups (four per group is great but no more than 5 or six). Post large chart paper in various areas around the room (one for each group) Cover the chart paper with another piece of chart paper so groups cannot see each other's answers. Have individual groups select a leader (or you select), they decide how they will rotate in the group and give the group a name, give them a marker. Groups take a spot at one of the Chart-Paper stations and place the group name at the top of the chart. You ask a review question (short answer questions) and the first member of the group writes their response on the chart paper (keeping it covered when they are finished). I usually do not allow my students to confer with group members when answering questions....but have let some class groups confer in the past..which worked well with some of my challenged students. Then groups rotate recorders within the group (each student will be responsible for several answers this way). Continue asking questions and groups continue answering until you have asked as many questions as you want (I usually do 20-25 so students have several opportunities to answer). Then you review questions and answers as you score the answers on the chart paper orally with groups (alternate who answers the questions for the group again). The highest scoring group takes first place. I usually assign a point value for each question (5, 10, 15, 20, 25 points.....more difficult questions have higher point value)--making it more interesting as students must calculate their correct score point total. When answering, students put the point value beside their answer. Groups also have to add their correct response total....math!!
They have to decide which group is first, second, third, etc.....highest to lowest scores! Everyone wins something.....prizes are set for first place, second place, third place, etc... Hope this makes sense!!!!!!!
My students love it!!!
Happy New Year!
Good Luck on your tests!!!

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Posted by: anngirl

About the practice test around the room:

Each student has a copy of a reading passage w/ questions. Beforehand I take an extra copy and do all the work and circle the correct answers. Then I cut each question out and tape it to the wall somewhere. I cover it with a piece of paper that has the question number on it. So when the students rotate to that spot, they see the question number they need to work. I give them a few minutes to do their work and discuss it. Then I give them a minute to check their work- they lift up the cover page and look at my answers. Then it is time to rotate to a new spot.

Its great. It is a nice change from desk work and it takes less than 10 minutes to prepare.

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FCAT printables for test prep by Ms. Sanchez
Posted by: Risa

One of our ProTeacher members, Florida teacher Mariely Sanchez, has some EXCELLENT resources on her web site! She has printable downloads for many areas, but also specifically for the FCAT. I use many of her resources with my students and I sing her praises to my colleagues!!

Ms. Sanchez' Class
(Go to "Teacher's Corner", ==> "Downloads" ==> "FCAT Resources")

Here's one of the downloads I am using (although I'm not in Florida):
Elementary FCAT Vocabulary List-(Other ways to say...)

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Try using......
Posted by: CPATeach

...."Daily Warm-ups" for your morning work. When I get back to school on Monday, I will look at my book to find out who publishes these. They are great multi-genred short reading passages with related comprehension and critical thinking questions.

I call these "RAP's"...Read, Answer, Prove! The students must go back into the passage and highlight where they found the answer.

They are also great because the passages come leveled ie..below grade level, at grade level, above grade level!

There are also tons of test prep books out there..perhaps your grade level has sample books you can make copies from.

Hope this helps.

Also...about 60% of the score is derived from part one.....make sure you spend enough time on key words that are included in the questions..."mostly about", "all of the above except", go through old part ones and check out the wordings.

Don't burn yourself (or your students) still have two months before the test. I usually start my test prep the week before Thanksgiving.

And cannot perform miracles. You can probably predict today the scores of most of your students!

Good luck!

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Posted by: Miss Meg

The last post mentionped using felt pens to underline where in the passage answers came from, and my idea is similar. I give each student a highlighter and a pen. The students use the highlighters to highlight the answers to questions that come directly from the text: detail questions, sequencing questions, etc. For questions that require students to use inferencing skills, I have the students underline (with the pens) the part of the passage where the general idea is located.The students love using the highlighters (novelty) and using the two different pens helped them see that answers may be directly in the passage or may require them to infer. I don't know if this is what you were looking for, but I hope it helps!

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name tags
Posted by: snowpoppy2

I think I may have found this idea actually on here. But I have my kids wear a multiplication name tag every day. The kids are only allowed to call each other by the answer to the problem on each other's name tags. I wear one too so they have to call me Miss "49" if it's 7 x 7. They get really into it, and I don't respond unless they call me by the answer either. We really have fun with it!

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No title
Posted by: starry1

I just posted something about this further down so i copied and pasted it here:
We do that once a week test taking thing....I actually am starting to do it twice school orders special booklets for us: Test Ready (math and language arts) which is good for comprehension and basic computation and modeled after national standards....then we also have special prep books based for our State tests...We also have released test questions for the state website.....

we teach them HOW to take a test, by modeling and helping them practice certain Test Tip strategies.....we have special colored posters to help us, such as Plug and Play, Find the Stinker, Reread, Underline the answers, read the questions first, look for context clues, and etc......the kids get real familiar with the strategies. I say, okay today we are working on this one specific strategy....but after awhile they start to use a variety of them....also sometimes we just use the Test Tips on our regular work (such as if we need to read all the answer choices to fill in the blank)
I also have a Test Tips poster in my room.........

Anyways, we have a "Go for the Green" campaign at our school...All proficient/advanced level kids are green....all basic kids are yellow....all Below Basic and Far Below Basic kids are Red......its like a stop light....usually when we grade these tests we put the color next to how much they missed and really motivates them(sometimes i put a color on their tests or even some class assignments) we have colored posters in our rooms to help motivate them too....they seem to understand the color-coded rubic a lot better than letter grades or even numbers...they all know Green means third grade level and where they are supposed to be...yellow means almost means try harder.....

ACADEMIC VOCABULARY: I do this a lot with my class, especially because i have many students who are limited in their English...I teach them academic vocabulary throughout the year, its a lot of Spiral Review..such as if i teach them synonyms/antonyms, thats when I would introduce those academic words...etc...but it's also constantly reviewing those terms with them, so that they remember them....
I also have a list of academic words and I make sure to teach them the different terms, like i said its best to teach the vocabulary with context.....

we are beginning to also go over academic vocabulary on our test prep days...we have a composition book/journal called Test Words....we write the definitions in these books....I sometimes introduce new terms to write down in the books when we come upon them in our test prep booklets. I also keep track of the terms on chart paper..

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MORE Test Prep Songs-English and Spanish
Posted by: Risa

Last year I posted some "Positive Thinking" Test Prep Songs that I came up with. They got a great response! (I just checked...650 downloads! Wow!)

This year I added another one, and I came up with some songs in Spanish. This first attachment has the original three 'songs' that are written to the tunes of (1) Twinkle, Twinkle, (2) This Old Man, and (3) Itsy-Bitsy Spider. The newest song is "Ready for the State Test" to the tune of "I've Been Working on the Railroad".

My students each have their favorites. I hope yours will, too!

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Spanish Test Prep Songs
Posted by: Risa

I was going to leave both pages together as one, but I know that not everyone would need both Spanish and English.

This second attachment has the Spanish songs. For those who speak Spanish, they should be sung to the tune of (1) Un elefante se balanceaba and (2) A la vibora de la mar.

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Posted by: drama_mama30

How about a wear RED day? That way we are RED-y (ready) for ISAT?

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I have SMART Cookie Cards
Posted by: iluv3rd

to show we are all smart cookies. The cards have a gingerbread boy or girl on them with the word smart going down the side. Each letter in smart stands for a test tip.

Spend your time wisely.
Mark the best answer choice.
Always do your best.
Recheck your work.
Think positively.


We discuss the ideas and celebrate by eating cookies! We review the cards each day of testing, the kids wear the cards around their necks and have smart cookie snacks after each session.

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not a candy suggestion, but a song!
Posted by: noreenk

In Texas we take the TAKS, and someone forwarded along this tune...

The TAKS Song
(to the tune of "I Will Survive")

At first I was afraid, I was petrified.
Kept thinkin' I could never pass it even if I tried.
But then I spent so many nights
Thinkin' hard and thinkin' long,
And I grew strong,
And I learned how to carry on.

Now TAKS is back, from outer space.
I just walked in to find that test staring at me
right in the face.
I know that I can really rock.
I know that I have got the key.
And now I know it's all because
My teachers taught the strategies.

Go on now, go, walk to that door.
Just walk on through now,
'Cause you're not frightened anymore.
Weren't you the test that tried to
throw me off the trail?
Did I crumble?
Did you think I'd lay down and fail?

Oh no not I. I will survive.
Oh, as long as I know the strategies,
I know I'll stay alive.
I've got all my life to live,
I've got all my time to give and I'll survive.
I will survive. Hey, Hey!

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State test
Posted by: hazeleyesinnc

In my elementary school we always had a pep rally that last about an hour and a half to 2 hours. Students watch a motivational movie to kick start them to positive. This is usually done the day that we do the survey questions and check to see that forms have been "slugged" correctly- county marks certain items on the answer sheets. Teachers perform and the each grade level- in my case 4th and 5th learned a cheer and we have a cheer off...they get to scream as loud as they can....its deafening. One of the High Schools sends their cheerleaders to perform for us as well. We also have a motivational speaker- Ms. NC, one of the Harlem Globe Trotters that lives in our area....etc. Its actually a great day with little for teachers to do....:)

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Testing motivation
Posted by: teachjam

My favorite was when the teachers did a take on American Idol.
We called it "Brookwood Idol' for our school. We had teacher contestants who did stuff you "shouldn't do on tests" like not come on time, not eat breakfast, not listen, etc.
Then we had teachers who did it right! The kids went wild. Then daily we had a mult.choice question each class answered and returned to the counselor.

Next fav, was "Mission Impossible" changed to Mission Possible. Teachers and some older students dressed in shades and trenchcoats and challenged the school to answer the mission to answer the questions daily. It was a blast, complete with mission imp. music.
Daily our TV studio would post a question during this music theme and we would answer the mult. choice MISSION question. It was awesome!
It really got our kids psyched for the tests.

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No title
Posted by: EarthMonkey

If it is a reading comprehension test you might get them to recognize the different types of questions in a test:

right there
putting it together
text and me
on my own

right there is a question that is directly in the story in one spot, putting it together is aquestion that involves couple pages or paragraphs that need to be summarized, text and me is a question that requires some inference from the text, and on my own is a question which is based on prior knowledge.

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An idea...
Posted by: lynnylubner

Once when my class was celebrating the end of testing at the big school-wide kick ball game we did cadence cheers all the way over:
*I don't know...but I've been told (Kids repeat after you)
*Testings over and it's no joke
*Sound off
*Sound off
*3, 4
*1,2 3,4
You could come up with different variations, but my third graders loved it!

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skit ideas to promote testing
Posted by: mlr629

Our school is having a test prep pep rally to promote our state testing. I have been asked to write a skit for the teachers to do to promote testing. We have done this in the past and the students love it and look forward to it each year. Unfortunately, this year, I am short on ideas. Thought about doing something based on "Deal or No Deal" or "Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?"

Does anyone have any skits that you have written that promote testing that you would be willing to share?

Or, if you have any testing skit ideas that you would share, I would be grateful.

Thanks for your help!

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