Sunday, April 13, 2014

Test Week: Part One

It's finally here -- our state test week. Here in Florida this is the last year for the FCAT; next year we will begin the new Common Core tests.

How do you get through the week? For our third graders, it is their first time taking FCAT. If they score a level 1 on the reading test they have mandatory retention (state law). It makes for some stress and anxiety for students and teachers!

I try to plan different activities for our week. This year for the first time we start our 4 days of testing on Tuesday (and yes, our district chose to make Good Friday a testing day; don't get me started!).

Here are a few of the things we will do this week:

Monday

We will begin our new two-week schedule, so instead of block at 9:50 it's at 1:20 this week and next. That gives my partner and I time for two 90 minute classes before lunch, so I will have math with my homeroom from 9 - 10:30 and with her homeroom from 10:30 - 12:00. I'm really curious to see what it's like to have my class early in the day -- normally I teach them in the afternoon. We have been reviewing geometry standards, so I'm going to be doing activities with this book:



I wrote about the book last week; if you missed it you can read it here.

After lunch there is just enough time for a short read-aloud. I'll be sharing this Reading Rainbow book:


This book is available in both Safari Montage and Discovery Education if you don't have a hard copy. The Amazon description is: Sam is getting nervous. The BIG TEST is coming. The older kids claim the BIG TEST booklet is as huge as a telephone book. They say when it’s over, you have to put your arm in a sling. They tell Sam that nobody ever finishes the test. Are they telling the truth? Can this really be the BIGGEST TEST IN THE UNIVERSE? Nancy Poydar helps take the terror out of test-taking in this humorous and reassuring picture book for students who are facing their own BIG TESTS.

Sounds like a good one for the day before our BIG TEST!

After block (PE every day for two weeks - woo hoo!)  I will be sharing with them some tips for relaxing/reducing anxiety and reviewing a video clip from a test-taking vid in Safari Montage that talks about multiple choice tests. My students always seem to enjoy the game show format of the video and it helps them think of questions they'd like to bring up before testing. If you have Safari Montage, the title is "How To Answer Test Questions."

Is it test time for you?



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