Defrost Those Test-Taking Tips

If you’re like me, you’re home today because of the frigid temperatures and snow that have blanketed the Midwest.  These undesirable and untimely conditions come on the heels of us already being off  two weeks for Winter Break.  While we may have unpleasant thoughts about making up these days in the spring, we should be equally as concerned with the “brain drain” that’s occurring because our students have been away from class for so long.

Typically we begin to push test preparation around this time of the year.  As you thaw out today, take some time to defrost those test-taking tips.

  1. Visit the Board of Education website for your state and see what has been posted regarding 2014 testing.  In Illinois, there aren’t any test prep guides for Math and Reading, however, since the Science framework hasn’t changed, the guides for those are available.
  2. Visit the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) website.  PARCC will be providing the testing framework beginning with the 2014-2015 school year.  Some schools are participating in sample assessments this year.  Visit the sample assessment questions there, and begin to incorporate them into your lessons this year so students are familiar with them.
  3. Common Core is all about “the big picture.”  Mastery is demonstrated when students can apply skills and concepts consistently and across curriculum.  There’s no more “teaching to the test” so to speak; it’s more like “teaching to tasks.”  Students should understand how the skills and concepts they learn apply to everyday life.  Create projects and problems that help students make these connections.  Ask yourself: what are students at my grade level typically interested in and/or concerned about?  Use that question to help select text, questions, problems, and projects that engage students while teaching skills.
  4. As you thaw out pieces of knowledge, SHARE!  Student success doesn’t have to be a weight on your shoulders.  Collaboration allows us to share the blessed burden of educating our future.

I may not be able to help you shovel out physically, but I hope these few suggestions help you to thaw out mentally.

Stay warm!

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