As the dates for standardized testing get closer, Common Core test preparation is becoming a hot topic in classrooms across the country. When you think test prep for Common Core State Standards (CCSS) assessments, you’re probably most familiar with workbooks, test booklets, or online tools specifically designed for your state’s standards.
While these resources are a great way to review skills and concepts with your students, you may need additional help to grab and keep their interest along the way. Take a look at the following Common Core test preparation strategies for inspiration on getting those young minds working in your classroom.
Keep Them Moving
A classroom of students sitting calmly at their desks, pouring over their practice materials, brows furrowed in concentration…well, it’s any teacher’s dream. It’s also a great way to get them used to the process of taking a test and will prepare them for how to behave on test day.
But at the same time, it’s not going to keep them stimulated. There are many fun, nontraditional ways that you can engage your students while reinforcing your classroom instruction. For one, let them get out their excess energy as they demonstrate standardized testing techniques.
Alycia Zimmerman, a third grade teacher in New York and guest blogger for Scholastic, offers a few get-up-and-get-moving games she uses in her classroom. Practice true and false questions by having students sit down if they think the answer is true and stand up if they think the answer is false. Want to get them into the groove with multiple-choice questions? Label each corner of your room A, B, C, and D, then let them hop, skip, and jump (wiggle or dance) their way to the corner they thinks represents the correct answer.
Bring Out Their Competitive Streaks
Nothing brings out a student’s very best than a little healthy competition! Turn your Common Core test preparation into an in-class game show. Use popular quiz show formats (think of Jeopardy®, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?) to get your students racing to provide the right answers. If you’re crunched for time, consider enlisting your aide or other support staff to create simple PowerPoint slides for the game screens.
Turn On the Tech
Nothing beats pencil-and-paper resources when it comes to test prep, but you can’t overlook the appeal of technology for your students. Publishers of printed state standards materials often offer their programs in eBook format, too. There are different types of eBooks, from a standard web-based PDF to those that offer highly interactive, hands-on experiences.
Additionally, there are a number of Common Core apps that can be downloaded onto any mobile device for use in the classroom or even for at-home practice.
Motivation All Around
During test day, it’s common for teachers to cover up instructional prompts that are hung throughout their classrooms. Use this as an opportunity to create motivational messages to your students. Even better, let the students decorate large sheets of paper with notes and drawings of encouragement to each other.