Test Prep and Review can cause some serious stress for teachers and students alike. You wonder what standards you have covered. You think about lessons students have missed due to absences. You know that you missed something somewhere along the way. You worry that students won’t remember the concepts you taught early in the year. I can relate to each and every one of these thoughts! A couple of years ago, I changed the way I approached test prep and test review. I am happy to say that it has paid off immensely!
With just a few simple changes, I feel much more confident all throughout the school year and especially during those testing times. I’d like to share a few of my strategies with you.
1. Don’t wait until testing season to prepare. Spiral review is your friend. Take a few moments each day to go back to topics covered earlier in the year and do a quick review on the topic. I use my Quick Check Worksheets in my Fifth Grade Math Mastery Packets to quickly review topics that I know we need to revisit. You can also use these packets or choose problems from your textbook. Don’t spend a ton of time doing this. Just a couple of quick review problems should do the trick!
2. Use Exit Tickets. These don’t need to be glorified, cutesy pieces of paper (although, I do love to cutesify everything I can). Simple problems copied and cut apart will do the trick. The topic of the problems can either be what you worked on that day in class or a review of something from earlier in the year. I like to cut apart the squares on my Quick Check Worksheets from my CC Math Packets and use those. There are 6 problems per page, so with a class of 24, I would make 4 copies of a page, cut apart the boxes, and be set with exit tickets all on the same standard for the day. Simple, easy, and effective!
3. Task Card Quick Solves. Once again, you don’t need to get super-fancy with this strategy. You can use task cards you already have on hand or even quickly write out your own problems on squares of paper. I didn’t even use traditional task cards in this photo situation. I used the same Quick Check Worksheets cut apart (see #2 above) in place of task cards. (See how HANDY my CC Math Packets are? <<shameless plug) Then, I taped the cards onto the dry erase board. Students solve the problem beneath the card and THEN, move one space to the right to check the previous student’s work. This is a fast way to assess who has it and who needs a little more work. If you don’t have large enough chalkboards or dry erase boards, just have students carry a piece of paper on a clipboard to the different cards taped around the room and solve.
4. Differentiation. I know this is the big word in education right now, and that is for good reason. Not only should we be differentiating how we present information, but we should be differentiating worksheets and quick assessments, too. I have some students who can only have multiple choice questions, while other students need the challenge of open-ended questions. Time is our enemy here, and I’ll save that post for a different day. Try to find easy ways to accomplish this. My 5th Grade Math Mastery Packets take ALL of the work out of this for you. There are 4 Quick Check Worksheets in each packet. 2 are multiple choice and 2 are open-ended, but the problems are the same! So those students who are working on multiple choice worksheet A have the exact same questions as those students working on open-ended worksheet C!
5. Keep it fun! Students don’t need to feel the added pressure of testing. Try to keep the spiral review and test prep as fun as possible. Turn questions into games. Let students get up and move. Use fun worksheets (there is one FUN review worksheet included in each CC Math Packet). Students will appreciate you for making review easier and less stressful.
6. Track the data. Keep track of which students have mastered each standard as you move throughout the year. It doesn’t have to be a huge task. You can just make a pencil and paper list or create an excel sheet. I like to use the Standard Mastery Checklists included in each CC Math Packet, because it is quite simple in its approach. I keep these in a binder; one sheet for each standard. It is easy to take a quick look and see which students need help with which standard.
If you are interested in the 5th Grade Math Mastery Packets or 4th Grade Math Mastery Math Packets, there is one available for every, single standard at just $2.25 each! Each packet has 4 worksheets, 1 fun worksheet, answer keys, and student mastery tracking sheet. PERFECT for low-stress test prep!
You can also SAVE over 25% by buying the Math Mastery Bundles for the Year:
Looking for more Test Prep ideas?
Check out these blog posts for more ideas on making test prep fun and engaging for your students so that they get the most out of their learning!