Hit the TEST Out of the Park!

Standardized testing is right around the corner. I think we can all agree that standardized testing is one of the worst parts of teaching. I get to keep my third graders in their desk, taking a test, for four hours straight on three separate days. Great teachers know that this is not healthy! No matter how much we dislike the tests, we have to give them. So why not throw in some fun?!!! I have some ideas for you!

Several years ago, I decided that it would be fun to have a theme for test prep. I LOVE themes! Since it happened in the spring, right when spring training is going strong, I decided that baseball would be the best theme. Lots of my students play Little League and so they get very excited about the baseball theme.

Testing is a lot like a sports game! You practice hard. You get a good night of sleep and eat healthy. You show up on "game day" and do your very best.

First, I have students write their spring training goals. Students write about what they need to work on during training (test prep time) in order to be successful on game day (also known as test day). Setting goals helps the students to be more accountable for their test prep time.

These make a great bulletin board titled "Batter Up!" Then kids can reread their goals when necessary.

My third graders have very little experience with standardized testing. I spend a little time each day teaching them some test prep tips. They range from eating a healthy breakfast so eliminating answers that are incorrect. I hang a  new poster each day.

Students record the tip and expand upon it in their game day play books! (You can also use the play books for reviewing math and ELA skills.)

As game day gets closer, I ask students to reflect on all of the test taking tips and make a game day promise. My kiddo is always late, might promise to be on time. My kiddo who always rushes, might promise to slow down and read all directions.

My students love to use task cards for a class baseball game! Divide the class into two teams. Label the four corners of your classroom, 1st base, 2nd base, 3rd base and home. Choose a team to be up to bat first. Students take turns coming up to the home plate. The teacher reads a task card. If a student answers it correctly they get to move to st base. If they get it wrong, they are out. I ask a student from the other team to answer. If they are correct, I give them a piece of candy. After three outs, the next team is up. We keep track of the score on the white board. All of my students are so engaged because they never know when they might get called on and have a chance to earn a piece of candy! 

I display these outside our door with the title, "We are going to hit this test out of the park!" or "We're Bringing our A Game!" As students walk into class on game day, I have them reread their promise.

Last year, I found these fantastic baseball bracelets with motivating phrases and cute baseball mints at Party City. I had them waiting on the kids' desks.
After the big test, it was time for a team party! I love to show the movie Everyone's Hero. It is an adorable movie that makes everyone laugh and has a great message.

I also have parents donate some food so that we can have hot dogs, cracker jacks and cupcakes. The kids LOVE it! And it is just the break that we deserve!

I heat the hotdogs up in a crockpot. So simple!

All of the printables that I use for my spring training, can be found in my Game Day Test Prep kit.

Happy test prep!

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