My students begin their work on state tests as soon as we return from Spring Break. In order to help them feel as prepared as possible, we took time this week to review a variety of skills, discuss the testing format, and HAVE FUN!
With the excitement of March Madness, a quick trip to Dollar Tree helped me make our work this week even more appealing. As an upper elementary teacher, I find that my students are most enthusiastic about their learning when choice, friendly competition, and fun are included.
To make learning and fun go hand-in-hand we simply: determined the work we wanted to focus on and grabbed some fun gear to enhance our learning. Take a peek…
My teammate and I decided we would have students work in small groups to review some specific skills. Based on their effort and collaboration, each team could earn three shots: a Dunk, Free Throw (make it take it), and 3-Pointer.
Curriculum calendars are ideal to keep learning on-pace and student-centered, but certain concepts taught earlier in the school year, despite consistent spiraling, need review. My awesome teammate and I decided that we wanted to create small group learning stations to re-visit the following skills:
- context clue word work
- determining text structure
- using evidence to support responses in reading
- transition words
Students spent 10 minutes in each learning station. During that time, they worked on the specific learning activity as a small group. Based on their ability to be “good teammates” they earned the opportunity to shoot three shots using our Dollar Tree March Madness hoop.
Since there were five kids per group, they had to work cooperatively, actively participate, and make concessions because every teammate didn’t get to shoot baskets every time. Students earned points for made shots, and the winning team from each of my three classes got to choose an outdoor activity for the entire class to participate in after our two days of hard work. Dodgeball, basketball, and kickball were the winners.
After our basket shooting, I got ALL students up and out of their seats before we headed into the next learning station. Movement works to keep my students’ brains alert and engaged. And frankly, they LOVE to dance!
- Go Noodle is a classroom favorite. My big kids love Blazer Fresh and Kidz Bop channels the most. You can use the Go Noodle site for free and find a variety of songs to get your students moving. I also love the Kidz Bop You Tube channel to get my students up for a quick brain break as we transition to the next learning station or activity.
If you are looking for kid-tested and approved ideas to maximize test prep time with students, add some friendly competition and movement. A teacher AND student WIN!