Candy Heart Math for Big Kids

Every year around this time those conversation candy hearts begin to show up everywhere I look, and every year I fall for buying them.  Honestly, I don't think they taste good at all!  In fact the only ones I like are the white ones.  So....I have all these candy hearts with nothing to do with them, until now!

Candy Heart Math for Big Kids contains five free printables.  Students use these colorful candy hearts to practice the following skills.

  • Factors & Multiples
  • Greatest Common Factors & Lowest Common Multiples
  • Fractions
  • Line Plots
  • Area & Perimeter

You can grab this free printable HERE.

Firsthand and Secondhand Accounts... with a Mentor Text and Anchor Chart!

Since February is about a week away, I thought I'd focus on the subject of firsthand and secondhand accounts. I find that it works perfectly to tie this concept in with Black History month. There are so many excellent primary and secondary sources related to Black History.

The book Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges is my favorite resource to have when teaching about firsthand and secondhand accounts. If you don't have a personal copy and your library doesn't provide one, I highly recommend requesting that your librarian order a copy the next time she places a book order. It's an incredible book that teaches students a lot about the Civil Rights Movement- from the perspective of a child. Many of the accounts are jaw-dropping, and are sure to spark the beginnings of some powerful discussions. I thought I knew the gist of the Ruby Bridges story... until I read this riveting book! The book is entitled Through My Eyes, but there are many accounts written in the sidebars by other people, including Lucille Bridges (Ruby's mother), Mrs. Henry (Ruby's teacher), and Mr. Coles (Ruby's psychologist). There are also excerpts taken from 1960s publications including Good Housekeeping, The New York Times, and U.S. News and World Report.

As for how it relates to teaching about firsthand and secondhand accounts, the book is full of various examples- photographs, quotes, narratives, and excerpts. As you read the book, you can ask students to analyze the various accounts and determine whether each is a firsthand or a secondhand account. Let me illustrate a few examples:

Teaching firsthand and secondhand accounts? Check out this blog post that contains a mentor text idea and an anchor chart!

Teaching firsthand and secondhand accounts? Check out this blog post that contains a mentor text idea and an anchor chart!
After reading this newspaper article excerpt from The New York Times, we can discuss how we don't have enough information to determine whether it's a firsthand account or a secondhand account, because we don't know if the author was at the event. The incredible amount of detail leads me to believe that there was a reporter at the event, but we cannot be 100% positive.

Teaching firsthand and secondhand accounts? Check out this blog post that contains a mentor text idea and an anchor chart!

Teaching firsthand and secondhand accounts? Check out this blog post that contains a mentor text idea and an anchor chart!
This page tells the story of one of the very few white families who tried to keep their child in school despite the angry protesters. The use of "she" in the Good Housekeeping magazine article is a clue that helps us to be certain this is a secondhand account: "That night, she woke up screaming. When Daisy went to her, she was babbling about..."

Teaching firsthand and secondhand accounts? Check out this blog post that contains a mentor text idea and an anchor chart!

I use this book on the third day of my Firsthand and Secondhand Accounts unit. (On Day 1, I show students my Firsthand and Secondhand Events PowerPoint, and on Day 2, students complete a sorting activity.) Therefore, they have a basic understanding of the differences between primary and secondary sources, and they are now applying this knowledge.

In conclusion, I would like to share the anchor chart I have created to accompany the lesson I have described above. (I have a slight addiction to anchor charts!) 
Teaching firsthand and secondhand accounts? Check out this blog post that contains a mentor text idea and an anchor chart!
Clip art by Educlips
I begin the lesson by displaying this anchor chart. (Prior to class, I draw the top half of the anchor chart- with the headings and definitions.) We quickly review how the images on the anchor chart help us remember the difference between firsthand accounts and secondhand accounts. The boy with the camera represents firsthand accounts, because a person providing a firsthand account of an event would have been present at the event and would have been able to take a photograph of it. The girl reading a book represents secondhand accounts because a person providing a secondhand account was NOT present at the event the are describing. In fact, they usually gather information for their account by reading about the event and doing extensive research. I have the students help me record examples in each column, and we discuss how newspaper articles, magazine articles, and paintings need to be analyzed extra carefully. I remind students that we can only determine whether they are a firsthand or secondhand account if we know whether the author/artist was at the event they are describing. After this quick review, we are ready to begin reading Through My Eyes and analyzing the accounts.

Thanks for visiting today. If you have an extra minute, head on over to my personal blog, Crafting Connections, where I am hosting a celebration giveaway. (TpT gift certificates are the prize!)

Getting Started with STEM

I must start this post by declaring that I am, by no means, an expert when it comes to STEM education. I have received very little training, and have relied mostly on exploration and trial and error when implementing STEM in my own classroom. When STEM was first abuzz in the education community, I decided to jump right in!! With this post, I hope to simply share how I have been able to incorporate STEM into my own classroom over the past few years.

STEM (which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) is at the forefront of education right now, and I have to say, I'M LOVING IT!!! I love the idea of a hands-on learning approach. I love the idea of students building, creating, and exploring with their own two hands. Over the past couple of years, I have seen tremendous growth in how students think critically, work cooperatively, persist when challenged, and reflect on their failures, AKA learning experiences!

A couple years ago, I implemented STEM Fridays in my classroom. (I know, not very catchy!) Every Friday, I would present my students with some type of engineering challenge. At the time, there were already many great resources out there. But for me, I was short on time and I was short on money. Instead of purchasing kits or expensive materials, I found other ways to gather supplies!

Gathering Supplies

I started by creating a list of items that I thought would be inexpensive, but useful for building. I referenced many great blog posts and pins shared on Pinterest. Throughout the year, I gathered supplies from around my house, visited dollar stores frequently, and even picked up an item, here and there, on my (bi)weekly trips to Target. Then, with the help of my room parent, I set up a SignUp Genius asking parents to help donate supplies, as well. Here is a list of supplies that I have compiled over the years. 

CLICK HERE to download!

This list is just a start, and I find that I discover new ideas almost daily (especially thanks to Pinterest!)

Some of my favorite challenges have required just one supply! For instance, use one piece of paper and fold it in such a way that it can hold the most books. Or, given one piece of aluminum foil, construct a boat that holds the most weight.

Tasks and Challenges

The possibilities are endless when it comes to STEM tasks and challenges!! When I first started challenges with my students, I was very hesitant about trying new things, and tended to stick with the same types of challenges, week after week. You can only imagine how many "towers" my students built in the beginning. In some ways, this was to their advantage because they were able to build on their mistakes from week to week, and discover new materials and how they work best. 

After some time, I decided to start working outside of my comfort zone!

Here is a list of general tasks and challenges to get you started:
  • Construct the tallest structure.
  • Construct a structure that can hold the most weight.
  • Construct a contraption that can carry__.
  • Construct a contraption that can go the fastest.
  • Construct a contraption that can go the farthest.
  • Construct a contraption that can transport __ to __.
  • Construct a contraption that complete a given task.
This is just a selection of ideas, and I find that one of the best sources for ideas comes from students, themselves!! You'd be amazed by what they come up with!!

Follow my STEM board on Pinterest to discover new ideas!!

Ready, Set, Go!

So, you have your supplies and you have your tasks! Now it's time for students to start building!! When we do a STEM challenge in our classroom, we follow the following steps...
  1. I first explain the task or challenge to the class. We go over the rules and I give them a chance to ask questions for clarification. I make sure not to give away ideas for strategy! I then have students record the task or challenge, in their own words.
  2. When we have time, I like to give my students a chance to do some research before they begin construction. For instance, if the task involves some type of simple machine, I may encourage them to look for sources online. Unfortunately, we do not always have time for this piece. If that's the case, I give students some time to work in groups to discuss the challenge before building, and gain ideas from each other.
  3. Next, I ask students to "imagine" how they will complete this task. I have them record their thoughts and ideas before getting started. Once they have individually recorded their ideas, I put them in groups to come up with a PLAN!!
  4. Finally, it's GO TIME!! I usually give students a set amount of time to complete the task. Then I have the pleasure of walking around to see what they are able to come up with!!
  5. When the time is up, we test, measure, or evaluate the performance of each group. Once that's done, students go back to their seats to "reflect". They explain what they did to complete the task, and draw a picture or diagram. They record the outcome of the challenge and what they were able to accomplish. And last, they evaluate the process, by recording what worked, what didn't, and what they would change for next time.
I use the following "lab sheet" with each of my STEM challenges....

CLICK HERE to download!

Here are a couple challenges that my kiddos have enjoyed...
Building a bridge out of straws.
A classic: Toothpick and Marshmallow Towers
The possibilities are endless when implementing STEM in your own classroom. I love using STEM tasks and challenges because it encourages students to wonder, imagine, think, design, create, build, and explore!! These tasks require students to work cooperatively in teams, problem solve and persevere when faced with challenges, and think "outside" the box. 

I would love to hear what you are doing to implement STEM in your own classroom!!

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5 Great Ways for Teachers to Use Their Phones in the Classroom

Fitting everything in is one of a teacher's greatest challenges. A great way to keep on track is to use the clock functions on your phone. If you have a regular schedule each day, set alarms for each subject or transition. Never be late for specialists or lunch again by setting it to go off 5 minutes before they start. Use the timer to pace workshop rotations. The options are endless.

Conducting reading conferences and taking running records is a valuable use of time, but can be time-consuming. Increase your efficiency by downloading an app that not only does the calculations for you, but also enables you to record a student reading to document progress. Running Record Calculator is my favorite.

I hate to think about the countless hours I spent organizing student portfolios and managing student work samples. Streamline documenting student work by simply snapping photos of the items you would normally file, scan or photocopy.  Set up a folder on your computer for each student and quickly upload and drag the photos into those folders. Two things I LOVE about using the camera for this purpose . . .
  • photographing hands-on work samples like math patterns and science activities
  • being able to share the work sample with parents and colleagues using a projectable board during conferences
Remind (formerly Remind 101) is a free, safe, and highly effective tool for communicating with parents (or even keeping your older students on top of things). Teachers can send text messages to families to remind them about conferences, assignments, forms that are due, etc. The parents never have access to or see your phone number nor can they respond. The best part is you can set up the texts ahead of time so when you book a field trip you can set reminders for signing permission slips, packing lunches, etc.

I love a sticky note as much as the next girl, but I also know I will misplace them. Instead of jotting notes to yourself on paper use the note section of your phone. Make the process even easier by using the voice to text option.

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Top Five New Year Tips for Teachers

Your batteries are energized. You have just spent the last part of December and first part of January on a well-deserved vacation from the classroom. But now it's time to finish the 2015-2016 school year stronger then when you started! We have come up with the top 5 tips to start 2016 off right.

1. Get Plenty of Sleep

This has to be at the top of every educator's list for 2016! It is so easy to stay up late and correct papers, catch up on a favorite show, or to snuggle with a loved one, but those of us who are getting less than 7 hours a sleep a night really need to put down the remotes and crawl into bed. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the recommended hours of sleep for adults is 7-9 hours. Lack of sleep can lead to irritability and sluggishness at work. We all know that is a potent combination when working with children.

2. Exercise

The most common excuse for educators not to exercise is time. When is there time? What do I need to get rid of? It can't be my favorite TV shows. It can't be the time I spend with my kids at home. And it sure can't take away from the sleep I need, right? Well, we will give you the last one, but the other two excuses are perfect times to incorporate exercise. There are many gyms that now have TVs attached to treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes. Heck, you can even have your favorite show on DVR and work out in front of the TV while watching. You don't need a fancy gym membership to run in place, do lunges, sit-ups or push ups. When children come into play, I am sure if you try to keep up with them for just a half an hour a night by playing with them, you are sure to burn some extra calories too. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a great list of the benefits of exercise that you need to check out!

3. Add Humor
Humor is one of those human emotions that can instantaneously change your mood from sad to glad. Just adding a little bit of humor with your colleagues and even in your classroom can make a big difference on not only how you feel, but on the relationships it can build as well. We found this great website called Humor That Works, and it contains 30 benefits to adding humor in the workplace. We especially like #16!

4. Connect with Students

Coming back from an extended vacation can be difficult for students. Some of the children you teach may not have had the "cookie cutter" Christmas that most had. This means that they may come back a little unsettled and apprehensive because of the other students' sharing of what they did over vacation. Instead of the focus on gifts received, or what they did over vacation, make it a time to have students share what they want to accomplish for the rest of the school year. You could have a mini-celebration of the successes you have had from the first part of the school year and set class goals together for the rest of the school year. But make it a point to connect with all of your students when coming back from break. It will make a positive difference.

5. Leave Problems at School
It is so hard for teachers to disconnect from the issues and problems at school when they come home. But this is essential to long-term survival as a teacher. In order to do this, make sure to send any emails or do any phone calls before you leave for the day. The worst thing to do is to think about the problems all night at home and then having to deal with them the next day. Educators have to have a life outside of school. Your sanity and well-being depend on it!

We would love to hear your tips on starting the new year off right. Please add your comments to the post!

5 Tips for Successful Report Projects

I may be weird, but I love doing report projects with my kids. Instead of dreading each one (yes, we do several each year), I actual enjoy the process. Lucky for me, because I think when we enjoy something, the kids can tell and are more likely to view the whole process in a positive way.

So, how exactly do I lead these 30 or so kids into creating meaningful, well-written, and researched projects? Let me tell you five tips that may just come in handy.

1. Plan Ahead
This is a must-do and not a may-do! Starting a new report project is definitely not one of those times that you can show up and wing it. Here are a few things you'll want to do in advance:
  • Make copies of all of the papers needed 
  • Schedule the entire project out in your lesson plans (You'll need to have every due date firmed up ahead of time)
  • Reserve library time for research if needed (I like them to have at least one book)
  • Reserve the computer lab/laptop carts if needed for researching/writing time
  • Prepare a student example of the report (Yes, this is important as a visual for the vast majority of the kids who are visual learners!)
2. Present the Project to the Students
  • You'll want to do this with as much enthusiasm as possible. Make it sound like fun. It's a learning adventure! If your attitude is doom and gloom, your students' attitudes will mirror that. Some may still moan about it, but hey...that's life.
  • Show the student example to your class. A document projector works well for this or if you have other student created (or you created) materials like power points or videos, this is a great time to share these too.
  • Go over a detailed handout with specific requirements and due dates. You want this page to be so clear that a parent could read it and know what is going on because at this age, there are some parents who still want/need to keep tabs on what their kids are doing in school and help them a bit (but hopefully not do it for them).
3. Give Your Students Some Options for Greater Buy-In
I love being able to give students at least some choices when we do research projects. Of course there is never a choice NOT to do the project, and certain things ARE requirements, no choices there...but I love to allow them to choose things like which explorer they will research or which Native American group they will study or things like which format they will choose to present their information (in addition to the report). For example, when my fourth graders do a Mission project each year for California history, they choose their mission and also choose an "add-on" project like a recipe book, a model of a mission, a video tour of their family trip there, a reader's theater... or actually ANY project they would like to do with my approval.

When my fifth graders do a state report, I have their names on Popsicle sticks in a cup and have a list of the states on the smart board. As I pull sticks, they tell me which state they would like to do and then we cross it off, so everyone is doing a different state but has some say about which one they choose.

4. Guide Students Through the Project Step by Step
With upper elementary kids, we still need to baby step them through a big project like this. This is their learning time for the "on their own" days ahead.
  • If your students have planners, have them write out what they'll do each day in class related to the project and what they need to do at home (if anything). This big picture overview is a good goal setting habit for kids.
  • Do small things each day. It might be two weeks of researching and then writing one page a day over the course of a week. Then I always add in a catch up day or two to add a bit of wiggle room. It is much less overwhelming for them if you break it down into small steps.
  • Make sure you have a firm due date for all researching to be done and check notes on that day. I give kids a researching grade because it motivates them to find more and I know the more information they find, the better the report will be (hopefully). Also, if you don't set a due date, those lolly gaggers will not be ready to write when everyone else does and this just slows done their whole process.
  • I have done the projects several ways but have come to the conclusion that I can read and grade them so much better if they are typed. Plus, a lot of the dreaded standardized testing now requires our kids to type, so it serves as good practice. My kids usually write a rough draft on paper at school and take it home to type. May seem counter intuitive but at my school, we don't have permanent laptops available and the computer lab can be tough to reserve that much. Plus, we live in a helicopter parent district, so by writing it in class, at least I know they are doing a lot of the work themselves (we do have a big talk about this and I send emails home too about how they need to do it and not mom or dad, except for editing together, which I encourage).
5. Presentation Day
About a week before reports are due, I hand out a presentation note and we go over expectations. I make sure they know exactly what to do, that it needs to be this many minutes long, that they need to memorize it but may have note cards (not with the entire speech but key words), that they need a loud voice, good eye contact, good posture, and so on. I think doing the oral reports is great practice for them and have seen a lot of growth in my kids over the course of a year because I give them so many opportunities to present. Public speaking is a skill they will carry with them, and so I feel it is a vital part of the whole report process.

When reports are presented, I let the kids ask a few questions (we go over what is a good question and role model some not so good ones...they love to laugh at these). After questions, I give them some feedback (positive since it's in front of the class) and then we clap for that person. When all are done, then the reports are handed in and I'm in for a long weekend of grading. Oh well, even though grading is not my favorite, when you consider all of the skills that are packed into these reports, it's worth it. 

If you're looking for some Report Projects for 3rd - 6th graders that are ready for you to print and go, I have several you might like.
Click here to see them all:


I'd love to connect with you! 


3 Proven Ways to Differentiate Instruction for the Gifted Learner in a Data-Driven Society

Most districts are now requiring teachers to provide data-driven differentiation.  What can you do for those students who are labeled as gifted learners?  If they are already high achievers, it can be difficult to help them reach a higher level of success.  These tips will help you and your students achieve their goals and keep you from pulling your hair out!  Let's start by defining each of the terms.

What does data-driven mean?
Data-driven is when data from test scores are broken down and used as the foundation for instruction.

What is differentiating instruction?
Differentiating instruction is when teachers modify instructional ideas, tools, resources, and/or activities to meet the students' individual needs.  For example, teachers may use leveled books so each student can read about the same material on their own reading level.

Who is the gifted learner?
A gifted child may have some of the following traits:

extreme curiosity
vivid imagination
quick thinking
excellent reasoning skills
learns quickly without extra practice
advanced sense of humor
extensive vocabulary
an avid reader
leadership abilities
very observant
interested in cause-effect relations
dominate discussions
variety of interests
good at synthesizing
concerned with justice and fairness
very inquisitive
full of energy
able to work independently

The identity of a gifted learner is different in each state.  Find your State Definitions of Giftedness  

The tips below helped my gifted learners show improvement throughout the year and on their academic progress assessments.

The best way to increase reading test scores for the gifted learner is to have high-quality literature at their fingertips and provide students with the opportunity to have discussions focused on critical thinking questions.  Their lessons should be developed using classic stories and novels.   The Junior Great Books Series is an exceptional choice.  It offers both fiction and nonfiction text.  The fictional anthologies have high-quality literature that is based around student-centered discussions for comprehension and critical thinking.  It also includes writing.  The nonfiction series offers high-quality informational text with an inquiry-based learning format.  Reading classic novels is another option.  The following is a list of some of my favorite classic novels:

Secret Garden
Treasure Island
Charlotte's Web
Anne of Green Gables
A Wrinkle in Time
The Hobbit
Black Beauty
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Are you looking for a Secret Garden Unit that will keep your students engaged in higher-level thinking in every chapter?   In addition there is a vocabulary quiz, character chart, and test!

Are you looking for critical-thinking skill questions and plans for any book?  These may be helpful:  

2.  MATH
The best way to increase math test scores for the gifted learner is by acceleration.  Enrichment definitely helps, but acceleration gets the job done.  Most gifted learners can learn at a quicker rate and don't need review and extra practice.  If you can allow your gifted students progress through the curriculum at a faster rate, then you can use higher grade-level concepts once finished with the grade-level plans.  These students will be able to grasp the grade-level material as well as advanced material in one year.  Most gifted learners will be able to follow written instructions.  If not, a quick lesson for the small group may be needed.  Remember:  They don't need the repetitive practice.  Give them an anchor chart or poster with directions and examples or a quick video from Khan Academy and wahhhlllaaaa!

Even if you haven't had the time for much differentiating throughout the year, this next idea will be helpful prior to the test.  First, make sure you have the standards for a grade level higher.   Then, highlight vocabulary terms in both reading and math as well as advanced math concepts.  Create three lists of 12-20 new words and/or concepts.  Three weeks prior to the state test, provide a list each week to the gifted learner.  While you are reviewing grade-level content with the rest of your class, these students will be learning new words and concepts.  It can be achieved through self-learning or a project-based activity.  It works well independently or in a small group.  The gifted learner should be accountable for their learning through grading the project or an assessment.

I hope these ideas help you differentiate for your gifted learners!!!!!

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Preparing for Standardized Testing: Stress-Free Strategies

Test prep can be stressful, but it doesn't have to be!  Read my favorite test prep ideas for test taking strategies and getting students ready for standardized tests. Grab the free test taking strategies rap! (It's adorable)

Last minute cramming, piles of review packets, tons of practice tests....sound familiar?  Preparing for standardized tests is something we all must face in upper elementary, but it doesn't have to be a horrible experience for everyone involved!  If you start early enough (why I'm writing this post in January) test-prep stress can be a thing of the past in your classroom.  Here are some tips and strategies that have worked year after year in my own classroom.

1. Teach Test-Taking Strategies NOW, not later

As early as I can each year, I begin teaching testing strategies.  I don't cram them all into one lesson, but instead, I take my time and teach them just like I would anything else: Model, Guide, Practice.  By the middle of the year, my students use test-taking strategies naturally.  It isn't something I have to continue to remind them to do...they just do it.

Here is a fun "Testing Strategies Rap" I use to teach my students throughout the year.  If you begin incorporating them into your instruction now, they will master them in no time!

Test prep can be stressful, but it doesn't have to be!  Read my favorite test prep ideas for test taking strategies and getting students ready for standardized tests. Grab the free test taking strategies rap! (It's adorable)

2. Promote Independence

Test prep can be stressful, but it doesn't have to be!  Read my favorite test prep ideas for test taking strategies and getting students ready for standardized tests. Grab the free test taking strategies rap! (It's adorable)

There are always a handful of students that seem to need your help with everything they do.  They are the same students that have multiple questions each time they take a test.  From now on, don't be so quick to answer their questions.  Encourage them to stay seated and figure it out for themselves.  If necessary, just give them some encouraging words like, "I know you can solve this problem on your own. Just use what you know."  This will get your students used to the idea that you will not always be able to help them, and they will start to depend on their own thinking more.

3. Get Your Review On

No matter how well you taught fractions two months ago, you are always going to have students that seem to forget everything you have already taught.  Am I right, or am I right?   Incorporating review activities into your daily routine is such a CRITICAL component of preparing for standardized tests without all the stress.  This is actually something I recommend doing from day 1, but it is never too late to start.  Here are some tips for getting in extra review without your students even knowing it.

  • Spiral Homework - This is by far my favorite tip! This style homework gives students a daily dose of review practice as well as practice with the latest concept being taught.  I start this homework for math and language the second week of school, but it is perfect for starting in January as well.  Grab a few FREE weeks of math, reading, and language Homework in my TpT store {CLICK HERE}.  **All grade levels available
Test prep can be stressful, but it doesn't have to be!  Read my favorite test prep ideas for test taking strategies and getting students ready for standardized tests. Grab the free test taking strategies rap! (It's adorable) | Math Review | Reading Review | Test Taking Tips and Strategies

  • Morning Work - This is the perfect time of day to throw a few review problems on the front board for your students to complete.  I try to have 4-6 problems each day, with a majority of them being a review.  
  • Reading Centers - You may be teaching about main idea in your lessons that week, but there is no reason you can't put out some reading activities that focus on inferencing during reading centers!  Don't be afraid to mix it up.  All of your centers don't have to relate to the skill being taught.  {CLICK HERE for some free reading center activities}
Test prep can be stressful, but it doesn't have to be!  Read my favorite test prep ideas for test taking strategies and getting students ready for standardized tests. Grab the free test taking strategies rap! (It's adorable) | Math Review | Reading Review | Test Taking Tips and Strategies
  • Math Centers - I always try to mix-up my math centers.  Some of my centers focus on the current skill being taught, while others, such as Calendar Math and Math Games, focus on reviewing older concepts.  {CLICK HERE for some free math games}
Test prep can be stressful, but it doesn't have to be!  Read my favorite test prep ideas for test taking strategies and getting students ready for standardized tests. Grab the free test taking strategies rap! (It's adorable) | Math Review | Reading Review | Test Taking Tips and Strategies | Test Prep Math Games

4. Start Building Stamina

Test prep can be stressful, but it doesn't have to be!  Read my favorite test prep ideas for test taking strategies and getting students ready for standardized tests. Grab the free test taking strategies rap! (It's adorable)

Most of my class assessments are short...maybe 10-15 questions.  This is the perfect time of year to start incorporating longer tests.  Slowly increase the number of questions your students are required to answer in one sitting until it is similar in length to a typical standardized test.  This will help your students practice their focusing skills and give them the confidence to know they CAN do it!  Just be careful not to overdo it.

I hope these tips will help you prepare for the "big test" without the stress of traditional test-prep.  My biggest piece of advice is "Don't Panic!"  Trust your teaching and know that you are doing the best you can.  Stressing out over one test is not a good thing for you or your students.

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