Reviewing for THE Test: Day One

My 3rd -sters are on the final countdown to the state test (it's FCAT here in Florida). We begin next Monday, the 15th, and test for four days. However, we are on FCAT schedule for a full two weeks, since our 5th graders are still testing the second week. As if that's not enough, we have to take SAT 10 on the Thursday of the second week -- reading in the AM and math in the PM! Is it any wonder that last year when I turned in my lesson plans for those two weeks I stated the learning goal as "testing our brains out!"?

This year I finished the 3rd grade math curriculum in March, right before spring break. With just a couple weeks in between break and testing I decided to take a low-key approach to review. We are using some old and new math station activities, heavy on games, and reviewing different skills each day. Let's be real -- there is nothing that we are going to do in these last five days that will make a huge difference with test scores :) At this point they know it or not, and I can predict the test scores pretty accurately!

Third grade is the first time to take this test, so I want to spend most of my time encouraging them with how far they have come, reviewing some test-taking tips that will help them, and calming the butterflies.

Today the focus was fractions. At my teacher station we used Cuisinaire rods -- I recently purchased this set from Amazon:

Students worked in pairs and we explored the relationships between the different colored rods, using ideas from Beyond Pizzas and Pies. Several of us are doing a book study right now, and I'm trying out various ideas. My kiddos were raving about the activity afterwards, saying how much fun they had. They exhibited some good thinking and problem solving skills.

While we were doing that, another group was working at the computers using a game called "Dirt Bike Comparing" on the Arcademic Skillbuilders site. My third group was playing fraction games at workstations, including this great scoot game from Donna at Math Coach's Corner.

I was able to rotate the kids through all three activities. My morning class was wonderful -- they did so well. The afternoon group, well . . . ! Actually, I had just one of the three groups that were off task and tomorrow they won't be grouped together :)

Tomorrow we review multiplication and division. I'll let you know how it goes!


  1. Thank you for sharing this freebie!

    Good luck on all of your review! We are starting next week, after spring break!

    Collaboration Cuties

  2. Sounds like a great plan for reviewing! We do our state test in the fall which means all that review stuff happens the first month of school. In 2 years we are switching to the spring. Good luck with the testing!

    The Math Maniac


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