Getting Students to Test Their Best!

So, it is that time of year where state testing mumbles and grumbles fill the air! It's the part of the year that I honestly hate! Yes, I know, I said hate... but, it is true! The thought that one test determines the success of a child is honestly mind blowing to me. Yes, there are other measures and instances where you look at students portfolios to see there capability, however the initial measure is ONE test score. I really and truly hate that idea!

Here is what I have done in the past as well as how I need to do things a little differently this year. Looping has been truly wonderful, but I have to reinvent all my bag of tricks because they have seen them all! =) Don't worry though, I will show you how I am going to change the idea up a little bit later! Below you will find a link to last years freebie.

First off let me tell you that I forbid the name of the test to be said in my classroom all year long. I NEVER say we are learning this because of {insert name of test}! I believe that students need to see the purpose in what they are learning and that is not because of a test. Now this next one you are going to think I am crazy but, on all the "practice tests" you have to administer, I take off the name of the test too! =) I know what you are thinking but I just feel it is necessary.

Next idea I am going to share with you is charting their success! On all the practice tests they take in reading I allow them to chart their scores. We started this practice in December. However, I do things a little different. I allow them to chart two scores for each test! Here is why... feeling successful and believing you can do it, is key to making your students realize they CAN do it! Hearing you tell them they can do it is only one part. They need to see it and fell it as well! So here is how it works in my room.
Step 1: Once we start I start the timer, I time them and when they are ready they raise their hand and bring it up to me.
Step 2: Next I grarde their test and give it a score as well as write the time they completed the test in. Step 3: This is when I allow them to go fix their answers.
Step 4: After they do that, they bring the test back to me for a second score.

You should see their smiles when they realize THEY were the ones that fixed their answer choices and improved their score. That is the "feel success" portion of the practice! Then as we move into graphing of their scores, it becomes the "see success" part of the practice! It is truly a confidence builder. If they can find the right answer the second time, then they could of found it the first time!
After all of the students finish we go over it as a class. During this time we look at text evidence, share learning through how they fixed answers, looking at word parts, and finally review some testing strategies! You can grab a copy of the graphs that I use below!

Which leads me to my next topic of the day! =) Testing strategies! If you have followed my blog, you know that I have used game controllers as a way to teach testing strategies! Recently I have put together a unit with all the testing strategies I teach as well as a few activities to review these strategies. Here is my new unit!
I have included 10 testing strategy posters. All posters come in two sizes as well as being in color and grayscale.
I have also made a few additional teaching posters and positive quote posters to encourage your students!
Last, you will find anchor chart poster ideas and student labeling sheets. I also created a mini book where students can write I can statements on how they use each strategy. 

Okay, so now i will show you what I am working on for this years group. My team came up with the saying, "Hiking to Success" and let me just tell you I have ran with this idea!  Here is the cover so far and please don't worry, I will be back with a finished unit later in the week. I have to stay, I am really excited about the materials I have created! I also just might have another freebie for you! =)
 Coming Soon!

I hope everyone is having a great week! See you soon!

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