Thursday, February 5, 2015

Getting Ready for the State Test

I moved from first grade to 3rd grade several years ago.  I have to say - I LOVE this grade level.  I still remember my first year - I loved how quickly students became independent.  I loved how easy it was to get math stations and guided reading going.  I enjoy many things about this grade level. One thing that I don't love so much is the 'Big Tests'.  Talk about stress!  I am going to share a few things that I do in my classroom to have my students prepare for the big math test.  They are little things, but they help to break away from paper and pencil practice.

--->  Making Small Group Review Fun
I dedicate two 20 minute math rotations three times a week in the afternoon to review for the big test.  One item that my school purchased for us is a Test Prep Math Book.  It is not the most attractive and 'fun' item that I have, but it's a must.  I saw on Pinterest (of course I did) a cute idea about using these circle dry-erase dots.  They are the coolest thing!  I  put them on my small group table and we use it for reading and math.  Instead of passing out dry erase board or working out problems on paper, we use these dots!  A little thing like this can make going over a Test Prep book fun :)

---> Use Math Games / Task Cards During Independent Practice
During independent practice, I have students work on a math review packet.  When they finish, they are able to complete a test prep math game.  This can be task cards or a board game.  I have seen some fun ideas on Pinterest about how you can use games like Jenga and Connect4 along with task cards.  Students look forward to playing a fun game and they are encouraged to (correctly & neatly) complete their math review pages.

---> Use Math Websites!
I'm a big fan of math rotations!  One of my rotation is 'computers'.  I have my students go to two different math sites:
Manga High is free and has some very fun games.  I used this a lot last year and the students LOVED it!  Sadly, our classroom computers are near the end and don't load the games fast enough anymore.  We have not used it as much this year :(  If you have nice computers, you should sign up!  The games are made so students compete with each other, other classrooms, and even other schools around the world!

IXLmath is not free, but my school has purchased this program for our school for a second year.  It is not as fun as Manga High, but it has very focused practice.  I write down the skills students are supposed to work on during math stations on our board.  Students can master skills and earn medals. 

I hope you enjoyed taking a peek into my math test prep ideas.  Thank you for reading!