Sunday, April 8, 2012

Final Preps for the Big State Test

Can you believe we made it!?  It seems like just yesterday that 25 strangers walked timidly into my classroom.  Now, 8 months later, those same 25 children come bounding in at 9:00 every morning, filled with stories of what happened at home, over the weekend, or on the way to school.  They came in with basic multiplication facts and now can multiply any multi-digit number by another multi-digit number.  They came in able to read most words, but now have the tools to figure out ANY word they may encounter.  They have worked hard and are so ready to "Show What They Know"!

I am not a fan of cramming before the test.  One reason is, I feel that if they don't know it by now with awesome, hands-on lessons, they aren't going to learn it by doing mindless worksheets.  Another reason is, I feel that if I feel stressed and pressure them, they will think I don't believe in them and then they won't believe in themselves either.  Here are three things I am doing in my class this week to relieve stress and prepare our minds for AIMS next week:

1.  We are writing encouraging letters to our Reading Buddies.  Our buddies are in 2nd grade and will take the Stanford 10.  This is their first year taking a high-stakes test, whereas my students have taken tests for 2 years now.  In return, the buddies are writing letters of encouragement to us.  I can't wait to read them.

2.  I am teaching stretching positions to my students.  I do this every year and I like the way it calms the room down and brings a sense of community to the kids as they learn this new skill together.  I teach the poses this week, so next week we do them in the AM and I don't need to take the time to teach the positioning.  We also get all the giggles and insecurity out this week.  I use this website for pics of the positions.

3.  At the third quarter parent-teacher conferences, the parents made encouraging posters for their students (I stole borrowed the idea from my good friend Tanya Bidtah).  I have hung them in my room to encourage the kids during the test.  If they ever get stressed out, they can look up and see Grandma's note to them or Dad's encouraging word.  Hint: the glitter REALLY pops on the neon posters!

What cool ideas do you do in your class/home to prepare your kids for the high-stakes test?

I have found (and love) this site and am doing this tomorrow for the test.
Instead, I put 2/3 cups of Lucky Charms in ziploc baggies.  That will keep it less messy (I hope).

All together, this only cost $8.  Cute idea from a cute blog.

where Glory meets my suffering