State Standardized Testing is unavoidable for educators each spring. As much as we strive to teach our students to be critical thinkers and lifelong learners, the reality is we still have to prepare them to also be test-takers. This time of year can be very stressful for students and teachers. BUT that doesn't have to be the case. We can avoid testing stress by bringing an element of FUN when preparing students for the test. One way I managed to do that was by creating an Escape Room for my students to review various reading skills.
When preparing for the Escape Room, I analyzed the results from their test simulations to identify the skills with which the students would benefit from additional review. I created 4 stations for students to practice these skills.
Main idea and supporting details are always skills that my students find difficult. In this station they were able to practice both using main idea mazes. On one side they were given a main idea: Tornadoes are very dangerous storms. They needed to color in the supporting details for that main idea. By doing so they created a path to take our school mascot back to our school. The opposite side was the inverse of the first activity. The students were given supporting details and they needed to identify the main idea.
ABC Order is a skill that quite often is missed on tests due to students not taking their time. They know how to alphabetize, but make simple mistakes. This station required them to put 2 sets of words into ABC order.
Questions requiring students to identify guide words are ones my students frequently miss on tests. What better way to review than through authentic practice using dictionaries? In this station, students had to locate 3 words in the dictionary (timid, anxious, nervous) and write down the corresponding guide words. They then needed to write a sentence for each one as they benefit from the exposure to new vocabulary words. A sentence frame was provided to support students with this task: She/He is ____ because _______.
Similar to the dictionary station, students need authentic practice using a thesaurus. My students tend to have limited vocabulary and need exposure to new words. This way a great way to introduce them to new words and provide additional practice distinguishing between synonyms and antonyms. For this task, they needed to identify 2 synonyms for 2 given words (cruel, fearful) and find 2 antonyms for 2 other words (miserable, foolish).
After successfully completing each task, the students were given letters. Their last challenge was to unscramble the letters to find out the secret password.
WE GOT THIS!
I chose this as the secret password to give students a boost of confidence before state testing and remind them that they CAN do anything! It is also encouraging for teachers to know that we can make it through standardized testing also!
Of course, breaking out of an Escape Room wouldn't be complete with out a photo opt! The students definitely had fun with the signs!
What are some ways you escape from state testing stress? Do you have any fun ways you help prepare students for standardized tests?