Test Prep and Blog Hop

Giveaway Header ImageTesting season for many school districts is upon us. I would venture to say all teachers and parents of school aged children have opinions about student testing. I don’t think the effectiveness of a teacher should be judged by standardized test scores, but I do love to analyze my student’s test scores and compare to the previous year. I calculate averages of the whole group and look for drops and gains. One year, my class average in writing and mechanics improved 14 percentile points. I analyzed the heck out of my daily routine to figure out how to maintain gains like that. Turns out, two sentence corrections per day (DOL to the teachers out there) resulted in big success.

I noticed a drop in something called verbal reasoning. What did I miss in my curriculum during the year that created a dip in the scores? Categorizing words. My students do well with flat out vocabulary because of all of the work we do with roots and prefixes, but when they have to manipulate and compare words in groups, they were not as successful. This year, I spent more time working with word categories, analogies, and sorting words based on a given criteria. It all relates to building a bigger vocabulary and understanding the relationships between words, which creates better readers and writers.

I do not assign last minute test prep work right before testing but build activities into my daily class routine instead. I have several activity ideas that work well for my students.

verbal reasoning sample 1

Idea #1

  • Add a reasoning type question to daily language warm-up activities. I complete two sentence corrections a day, and I added an additional section to my bell ringer activity. The students complete an analogy, choose a good title for a group of words, or complete some other “word work” problem. The students complete the activity in their daily journal (a black and white composition book), and we correct together. The students see the correct answer as soon as they finish their work, and since we have a small amount of practice every day, it does not turn into a cram session. It becomes part of the students’ routine and builds a thinking habit. Click DOL and Verbal Reasoning Bell Ringer Samples to see more.

DOL verbal reasoning

Idea #2

  • Add synonym, analogy, word category, and word relationship questions to weekly vocabulary and spelling tests. Students become familiar with these type of questions and analyze how words fit together on a regular basis rather than seeing it one time during the school year– right before testing.

synonym test sample

Idea #3

  • When completing writing assignments, look for words that are repeated often. Generate word lists in the margins of writing assignments that could replace any repeated words (it’s basically a synonym list or personal thesaurus). When students edit the writing assignment, discuss which words are stronger or weaker. Rank the words in order of importance. Determine why one word might be more appropriate than another. My students just finished writing their American business research essays. The students used the word, business, many times in the essays. We brainstormed a big master list of other words we could utilize (organization, company, group, shop, restaurant, store). We discussed the difference between words like restaurant and store and why one student might use restaurant (the person researching McDonald’s), and one person might use store (the person researching Krispy Kreme). Students should be aware of the connotations different words create.

I compiled some of my verbal reasoning practice questions into a test prep product on TeachersPayTeachers. CLICK HERE to see my Verbal Reasoning Test Prep product.

Giveaway Information

Enjoy a good book and relax after a busy day of testing or buy a new read aloud for your students to enjoy during the testing days. Enter my RoomMom giveaway for a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card by CLICKING HERE. Giveaway ends March 1, 2015.

barnes and noble gift card

Click the NEXT STOP button and continue through the Warm Up and Chill Out Blog Hop for additional student testing tips, ideas, and resources as well as opportunities for more prizes to get you through this last part of winter and testing season. Prizes offered at various stops include a Starbucks gift card, Panera Bread gift card, Dunkin Donuts gift card, Amazon gift card, and great teacher materials.

Next Stop Image

 

Blasting Back to School: Giveaway and Teacher Emergency Kit

Blasting Back to School Blog Hop

I have my foot in two blogging worlds. I write about the projects I have going on at home with my family, and I write about my teacher world. This week, my foot is in the teacher blog world.

I am participating in a school blog hop. I have done giveaways before but never as part of a blog hop. Read on to find out how to enter the Back to School Giveaway and win this year’s RoomMom Teacher Emergency Kit. Visit other blogs in the hop for a chance to win more educational swag.

whats in your teacher emergency kit

Back to School Tip

At the beginning of the school year, stock a bag of emergency supplies to leave in your teacher desk. Think about items you need during the day that you would not be able to locate in the teacher workroom, the front office, or in the students’ school supplies.

Typically, the items I like to have on hand are a travel toothbrush or dental floss, hand lotion, chapstick, safety pins, Tylenol or Advil, Tums, an emery board, a few dollars worth of quarters for the soda machine, and (whispering) Tampax.

Enter my Rafflecopter giveaway for the chance to win TheRoomMom Teacher Emergency Kit! Two winners will be selected. Giveaway ends Saturday, August 9 at midnight (EST) and shipping addresses must be within the USA or Canada. Teachers, this is a great little holder to have on hand. Parents, be your child’s teacher’s best friend and give this as a teacher gift the first day of school.

teacher emergency kits

Go to RAFFLECOPTER to submit an entry! 

But wait, there’s more! You have the opportunity to win something different on each blog in our group, so make sure that you visit the next blog in the blog hop at the bottom of this page. To enter to win the HUGE gift certificate to Teachers Pay Teachers, visit our group blog, Lesson Delicatessen. Make sure you hop through every blog to read all of the great back to school tips and be entered to win over a dozen prizes.

Click over to the NEXT BLOG for the chance to win more prizes!