Test Prep: Tips for Home and School - Bright Minds

It will soon be time for the big test, which means anxiety for kids, teachers, and parents.  If you are a Nervous Nelly like me, you want to do all that you can to keep everyone calm - including yourself.  Through the years, I have tried many different types of strategies. Here are a few that I found worked best for me:

Many times I found surprises when I saw my students' test results.  Students, who were very bright and capable,  had less than stellar test scores.  These students were not keying in on important details like small words such as not or always.  One of the teams I was on used a strategy called Steal & Slide which helped with this issue.  Students "steal" some of the words in the question and "slide" these words into the answer.  This isn't a new idea, but the term "steal and slide" was new to me.  Since many student play little league in the summer, steal and slide was a phrase that caught their attention (pun intended). Your students can practice this strategy using comprehension questions from The Lightning Thief.  This post has a FREEBIE for you.

Sometimes I made assumptions, which made me rethink how I was teaching. I assumed my students knew all of their math facts because they were successful on their daily assignments. On the day of the big test, students are anxious and under time constraints so knowing their math facts with automaticity is extra important.  When I incorporated math facts memorization activities students were more successful.  Donna @ Math Coach's Corner has a really great post explaining the importance plus a freebie for you.  Need ideas for practicing math facts?  This post has ideas plus tips for how you can easily incorporate these activities into your busy day.

Are you a fan of multiple intelligence?  I can remember the very first article I read about the topic, many years ago.  It made so much sense to me.  Have you ever wondered if technology should be added as a type of intelligence?  A few years ago, I was teaching a money unit.  One of my boys could not seem to grasp the concept of counting money.  I tried several different strategies, but nothing seemed to work.  One week, we were using the SmartBoard for our math lesson.  My student who had trouble counting money volunteered to count the coins.  For whatever reason, when he went to the SmartBoard, he was able to successfully count the coins.  I gave him several problems and he did them all correctly! Technology turned on the light bulb for him.  He was then able to transfer that same skill on his paper-pencil assignments.

Technology is a great tool to incorporate into your test prep plans.  You can add whole groups activities on the SmartBoard or set up tech centers or stations.

Students need to be comfortable with the format of the test before the big day.  The Bright Minds Apps has a format like a standardized test.  The app has two practice tests. Students are given immediate feedback after they answer each question.  The app gives the correct answer when students make a mistake.  Hopefully, students will take the time to analyze their mistakes and learn from them.  Parents can also use this at home, too.

Parents and teachers love the rich content. These apps have been downloaded several thousand times since last year.  Improvements have been made this year. This is an economical way to enrich your lessons and prepare your students for standardized tests.

Bright Minds Apps for iPads:
Do you have any test prep tips?

This post is sponsored by Bright Minds Apps.

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