BUT ONLY WITHIN A SHORT (very short) UNIT OF STUDY!
I am very passionate about teaching in meaningful and lasting ways all year, OK? I’m on team anti-skill-drill! I think it’s smart to take some time out to really dig in and show students how to take all of that wonderful knowledge and show what they know on a test. I believe in creating “test-ready readers!”
Here are a few tips that might be helpful in becoming a test-ready reader.
1. Immerse your readers in a packet of reading passages from years past.
Lots of states will release items from past tests for studying purposes. Google your state test and the year…you’ll probably be able to locate them. If not, search for good reading passages that vary in genre and format. Pay attention to the questions that you choose to go in your packet. Make sure to include all of the tricky-worded problems that those test makers love so much! Study them with your students. Look for commonalities!
2. Increase the RIGOR of your activities!
Most of the tasks that we ask our students to do hover around the recognition/recall and comprehension level while the standardized tests that they take are usually written at the analysis and knowledge utilization levels. We have to get our students working at higher cognitive levels MUCH more often. I’ve written extensively about this HERE and HERE! Rigor is a GOOD THING. Trust me, I used to hate the word but not anymore!
3. Focused Exit Slips
We teach hard, don’t we? How frustrated we feel when it doesn’t show on the test! One way to make sure that amazing work gets translated into successful testing is to show the same work in testing format. Focused exit slips are GREAT for this! If we are intentional about using an exit slip to word our teaching points with some testing language, then they will get “test prep” in tiny doses every day. Here is what I mean…
4. Be explicit about what the test really is.
Teach them to be real readers, writers, and thinkers in our daily lessons and then dedicate a period of time to shifting what they’ve learned into test-taking skills. I think a lot of students are being skill-drilled every day in school because the teacher wants them to pass but we are dealing with two different skill sets here. Just because a reader does well in class doesn’t always automatically translate into good testing scores. Plus, if they are skill-drilled daily and they think that that is what learning looks like, they may not take it seriously. But if there is a noticeable difference in instruction, they might be more likely to wake up and get the job done!
I’ve created a resource that might help! This unit is dedicated to turning your students into test-ready readers! Check it out by clicking below.
I truly believe that if we are a little more intentional about prepping our students in meaningful ways, our students will see success during test-taking season.
LaNesha is an apron-adorned teacher working in Indianapolis, Indiana. She truly believes that little kids can do big things. She loves to create rigorous activities that will create little thinkers in the primary grades. To catch all of the ideas and tips LaNesha shares, connect with her below!