Are you ready for testing?!?! We are!
We have one more school day before the FSA (Florida Standards Assessment) reading test. Over the past few weeks, we have been working oh so hard to get ready. We have reviewed in groups, in small group, in pairs, and independently. But, truth is, we are all sick of reading comprehension pages and practice assessments. (Can I get an AMEN?!) Sometimes they are just not fun to do. As teachers, we can change this attitude!
This year, my co-teacher incorporated many fun activities in order to keep our students engaged while continuing to practice using our strategies in the text and on test questions. I am sharing three of our favorites with you today! These "games" are extremely simple to make and will not break the bank. Many thanks to the Dollar Store! Plus, all of these activities can be saved for next year!
Students should read the passage(s) and answer all questions first, showing their evidence in the passage. All of these activities are to be done while REVIEWING the answers with students. The review can happen in small groups or whole group.
Ping Pong Balls & Cups
Place cups in front of a group of 4-6 students (clear cups work even better than these styrofoam ones!). Label the cups with the letters included in the answer choices. Give each student a ping pong ball (cotton balls will also work). As you go over each question, thinking aloud, have students bounce/place their ball in the corresponding cup. Announce the correct answer (Cue student cheering). Students hand all the ping pong balls back to each other and you start over on the next question.
***Yes, students may look around and follow their peers, but we make sure to let them know that we are looking for their own answers only! "Cheating does not help you in life."....and that whole teacher spiel.
We allow students to bounce their ping pong ball on the table, ONE TIME ONLY, trying to aim for their chosen answer cup. If the ball doesn't make it in, they are to just place it in the cup. They follow this rule religiously. If they don't follow this rule, we would have ping pong balls ALL over the place. Follow it, or don't play. :)
You will need a couple Jenga towers, unless you plan to do this whole group (then you only need one tower). We use about five in our classroom. You can borrow them from other teachers or grab them here. While students are completing a reading comprehension packet/review page place a Jenga tower in the middle of each group. As you go over each question, think aloud. Announce the correct answer. (Cue student cheering) Walk around with a pen and give students stars or checks beside the correct answer. When they get a star/check, they may take a Jenga block from the tower. If they do not answer correctly, they work through the question again. Continue through the rest of the questions, walking around to assess as you go. The goal is to see how many blocks you can successfully pull without knocking the tower down. If the tower falls, simply gather all the pieces and rebuild it.
Each child will need a fly swatter. (We bought them at the dollar store, but here is another good deal from Walmart. These are reusable from year to year.) Students break their desk into fourths with dry erase markers and label with the answer choices. (Just use a clorox wipe to clean up!) As you go over the test questions, think aloud.
Say something like, "One, two, three -- SWAT!" When you say that, students "swat" their answer. They must hold their fly swatter on the letter until you tell them to remove it. Walk around and assess student answers. Announce the correct answer (Cue student cheering), and then move on to the next question.
If you mess around with the fly swatter (including but not limited to: hitting another person, lifting it up and changing your answer, swinging it like crazy in the air), you will loose the privilege of the fly swatter, and have to continue reviewing the questions the "normal" way.
Those are a few of our classroom favorites! These little games give students a reason to try their very best during our review. It also keeps review a little interesting on the teacher end, too!
Happy Testing Season!