Classroom Solutions > 12 posts categorized "Testing"

Comments: 12

Common Core State Standards

MBlow0510_iStock000012975998_tortoisehareThroughout my career, I have done extensive research on world folklore. Aesop, the father of fables, has blessed us with an infamous fable, “The Tortoise and the Hare,” cautioning against hurrying to reach a goal and suggesting that the slow and steady will win the race. I cling to the wisdom of this fable as we begin our journey toward educational reform. 

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.

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Comments: 4

Conquering Test Anxiety

Brain_lead_photoWhether it's a unit test, final exam, or high-stakes state assessment, some students will suffer from test anxiety. Ironically, it is often the student who has the least to worry about who suffers the most. Other students will tell me that they are better at math. Their brain just doesn't like to write. I use brain exercises and music to help my students conquer test anxiety and wake up both sides of their brain. Included in this post is a video demonstrating activities that activate both hemispheres of the brain and reduce stress.

Photo copyright iStockphoto/Glepi.

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Comments: 18

State Assessments: Note-Taking & Writing Strategies

MBlow0411_shutterstock_63405031_girl_writing-2Last week, I received an email from a good friend who shared test-taking tips that she is using in her classroom. The other day, a 6th grader in an unidentified U.S. location wrote, thanking me profusely for the test-taking tips that I had posted on my Web site. She wanted me to know that she is “less nervous to take the exam.” The next email was from a fellow blogger, Renee, who was looking for paired passages to use for state test review. It is evident that teachers and students across the country are in state testing mode. Read on for some of the review strategies I use in my classroom.

Photo copyright Shutterstock/jeka.

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Comments: 4

Motivating Middle School Students

IMG_5957It takes a special breed to teach middle school students. Teens and preteens thrive on drama, struggle with hormones, and explode with emotions. As if that isn’t enough, this time of year we also have to contend with a spring fever epidemic. Many students shut down as snow banks thaw and the Canada geese return to the North Country. With ten weeks left in the school year and only one month before state tests, we cannot allow students to check out. So, how do we motivate our middle school students and keep them engaged in learning? Celebrate their achievements and give them choice and voice. This post describes some of the ways teachers celebrate student achievement at my school, and a video illustrates what one student chose to do when given voice and choice.

 

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Comments: 6

State Assessments: Extended Response

SMART_Notebook_ER_picAre you feeling the pressure of state tests? With Race to the Top and looming state testing season, many of us are feeling anxious. At this point in the year, my goal is to help my 6th grade students transfer the skills they learned throughout the year to the state tests. This week's post includes resources and strategies for teaching the extended response, or essay portion, of the assessments. Included is a SMART Notebook lesson for outlining the essay and serving a little TEA to reduce anxiety.

 

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Comments: 52

Preparing for High Stakes State Testing

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In California, we do our state testing in May, but we begin reviewing and planning for it now. Second grade is the youngest grade to take state tests in California, and we take it very seriously. I hope that you will find some helpful testing tips for students and teachers in this post.

 

 

Photo Credit: Blueberries/iStockphoto

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Comments: 8

Children of the Holocaust

IMG_5864 I recently received my February 28, 2011, issue of Time magazine. On the cover was a picture of youths from around the world with the subtitle, “The Generation Changing the World.” In my classroom, we are transitioning from the protests in the Middle East to the Holocaust. After introducing the literature circle books for the unit, I held up the Time issue and Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy and posed the question, “Why would Hitler fear the youth?” The question set my students on fire. The biggest problem of the day was tracking all the books that started flying out of my room. The resources below will help you create an English language arts and social studies integrated unit on the Holocaust.

 

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Comments: 8

Why You Should Become a National Board Certified Teacher

DSC01296Teachers understand that being a lifelong learner is a core responsibility of their profession. Professional development opportunities abound for teachers, some of it very good and some of it, well, not so good. Of all the professional development activities that I have taken part in during my sixteen-year teaching career, the most powerful, rewarding, and informative one was applying for and receiving National Board Teacher Certification (NBTC). It was also the most difficult and challenging one, but in the end, the process greatly informed my practice, and I truly believe it made me a better teacher.

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Comments: 6

10 Ways to Be Ready for Parent-Teacher Conferences All Year Long

Parent-Teacher Conferences An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you do the following things all along, you will not have to rush around at conference time.

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Comments: 6

Get in the (State Testing) Game!

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If I could put my entire English curriculum into a game format, my students could learn anything. There's something about playing a game that brings out the best in high school students. Teens enjoy letting loose, having fun, moving around, and being competitive with their peers. Games excite and stimulate the students to learn. 

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Comments: 1

Preparing Students For State Testing

IMG_2011 In my district, this is perhaps the most stressful time of the year. This is because state testing is about to begin. Administrators and teachers know that the scores from these tests will serve as an evaluation for our school and in some cases, for individual teachers. Students are anxious because all of their routine schedules have been rearranged and none of them are looking forward to four hours of testing a day. For those of us with a large population of English Learners, the struggles are amplified. High-stakes standardized tests can be a challenge, but they're a reality that cannot be avoided.

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Testing Days: Take Time to Explore!

Start you butterfly garden! 'Tis the season for state testing. Many of us may be taking time to go over last minute skills and cram in as many review problems as possible for students to practice just before the test. During high stakes testing – between reviewing concepts and recalling facts – take some time to do some fun activities to get your kids' minds off testing. Even if you are not in a testing grade, you can try a couple of ideas I've taken from the internet to work on student skills and get them exploring and using scientific investigations to keep their minds engaged in more authentic learning.

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The opinions expressed in Classroom Solutions are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Scholastic Inc.