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April 8, 2015

Have Fun With Assessment Review

By Lindsey Petlak
Grades 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    Whether it's a lengthy national assessment or quick class quiz, students typically dread testing and avoid reviewing skills at all costs. Make skills review for testing a fun and engaging way for students to brush up on topics previously taught with these ideas that require virtually no prep for you as the teacher, and are sure to please your students!

     


     

    RELAY RACE REVIEW

    Using open classroom space, the hallway, or the gym at your school, setting up review relay races is simple, fun, and effective. Put students on teams on one end of your activity space, with questions, passages, problems, etc. at the opposite end. Students race back and forth answering a set number of questions or performing assigned tasks for passages, then race back to their teammates at which point the next teammate follows suit. The team that finishes first gets points for each problem correct AND extra points for finishing first. Other teams earn points for every correct answer. Read more test prep fun, including further relay race details, in my previous post on Academic Olympics.

     

    PAPER BALL

    This idea is incredibly simple, but the kids love it. Print or write questions (for any subject) onto sheets of paper, then wad them up into paper balls. Toss all of the paper balls into a clean container and have students sit in a circle. As you randomly call their names or numbers, they pull a ball from the container. You may choose to have students answer rapidly aloud (with ability to "phone a friend" if they need help), or write their answers directly onto the question paper. Repeat several rounds (usually at least three or four) until all paper balls are used. You may choose to award individual or team points for questions answered correctly, or you may simply have students pair-and-share if they wrote answers down on paper. For a class team-building variation of this game, read my previous post on team-building all year long.

     

     

    HOT POTATO 

    It's an oldie, but a goodie. Kids never seem to tire of the game Hot Potato, and since it can be played by passing pretty much anything, you have nothing to prep other than the review questions. Students sit in a large circle, and either pass, toss, or roll an object while music is playing. Once the music stops, the person holding the "potato" has to answer a question. Much like "paper ball" above, the way you ask and answer questions may vary from verbal responses to privately recording answers on paper. The anticipation of getting caught with the "hot potato" always gets a rise out of the kids!

     

     

     

     

     

    POSTER PREP 

    My students had so much fun participating in "the never-ending story" activity I used at the beginning of the year for team building and creative writing, that I decided to use the same approach for skills review prior to testing. Using chart paper and markers, put students on teams and assign a topic or skill to them. They have to create a poster fully explaining and illustrating their understanding. Not only is this great for ELA, science, and social studies review, but using this for math takes students beyond computation and into deeper math thinking and explanation. Have students present posters to the class to further elaborate. 

     

    EGG-CELLENT REVIEW IDEA

    Inspired by Genia Connell's post on creative uses for plastic eggs, I think popping questions into plastic eggs for review sounds like a fabulous idea. Simply cut out pre-made questions (any subject), place into empty plastic eggs, and hide around the room. You may have students work independently or on teams to collect and answer questions inside of the eggs on poster or regular paper. Students may not search for and collect another egg until their first egg question is answered on paper. You may choose to award points for most collected and answered correctly.

    To add a challenge to this game, follow Genia's tips for creating an egg scavenger hunt. Using that approach, place clues to the question location inside the eggs and hide the question slips around your room or school. TIP: Make this activity high-tech by placing QR codes linked to questions inside the eggs instead of printed questions!

     

    CUSTOMIZED JEOPARDY

    I use JeopardyLabs for countless activities in the classroom. It's perfect for test prep skills review using two different methods. One way to use this TOTALLY FREE tech tool is for the teacher to pre-program the Jeopardy templates, or search through the abundance of already created games on the site. Then, divide your class into partners or teams and play the game just like the TV show.

    My favorite way to really gauge student understanding and engage the entire class is to give the STUDENTS the categories you wish to review and have them create the game. They absolutely love this, and it takes their review to the next level by creating the game themselves. The best part is, you can have the rest of the class play the games created by their classmates (perhaps divide teams and assign different subject or topic review to each) to review in a second way!


    However you choose to review skills as you prepare for assessments, I hope you make it easy for you and fun and engaging for your students! I'd love to hear the creative ways YOU prep students for testing. Please share!

    Thanks for reading and see you next week!

     

    Whether it's a lengthy national assessment or quick class quiz, students typically dread testing and avoid reviewing skills at all costs. Make skills review for testing a fun and engaging way for students to brush up on topics previously taught with these ideas that require virtually no prep for you as the teacher, and are sure to please your students!

     


     

    RELAY RACE REVIEW

    Using open classroom space, the hallway, or the gym at your school, setting up review relay races is simple, fun, and effective. Put students on teams on one end of your activity space, with questions, passages, problems, etc. at the opposite end. Students race back and forth answering a set number of questions or performing assigned tasks for passages, then race back to their teammates at which point the next teammate follows suit. The team that finishes first gets points for each problem correct AND extra points for finishing first. Other teams earn points for every correct answer. Read more test prep fun, including further relay race details, in my previous post on Academic Olympics.

     

    PAPER BALL

    This idea is incredibly simple, but the kids love it. Print or write questions (for any subject) onto sheets of paper, then wad them up into paper balls. Toss all of the paper balls into a clean container and have students sit in a circle. As you randomly call their names or numbers, they pull a ball from the container. You may choose to have students answer rapidly aloud (with ability to "phone a friend" if they need help), or write their answers directly onto the question paper. Repeat several rounds (usually at least three or four) until all paper balls are used. You may choose to award individual or team points for questions answered correctly, or you may simply have students pair-and-share if they wrote answers down on paper. For a class team-building variation of this game, read my previous post on team-building all year long.

     

     

    HOT POTATO 

    It's an oldie, but a goodie. Kids never seem to tire of the game Hot Potato, and since it can be played by passing pretty much anything, you have nothing to prep other than the review questions. Students sit in a large circle, and either pass, toss, or roll an object while music is playing. Once the music stops, the person holding the "potato" has to answer a question. Much like "paper ball" above, the way you ask and answer questions may vary from verbal responses to privately recording answers on paper. The anticipation of getting caught with the "hot potato" always gets a rise out of the kids!

     

     

     

     

     

    POSTER PREP 

    My students had so much fun participating in "the never-ending story" activity I used at the beginning of the year for team building and creative writing, that I decided to use the same approach for skills review prior to testing. Using chart paper and markers, put students on teams and assign a topic or skill to them. They have to create a poster fully explaining and illustrating their understanding. Not only is this great for ELA, science, and social studies review, but using this for math takes students beyond computation and into deeper math thinking and explanation. Have students present posters to the class to further elaborate. 

     

    EGG-CELLENT REVIEW IDEA

    Inspired by Genia Connell's post on creative uses for plastic eggs, I think popping questions into plastic eggs for review sounds like a fabulous idea. Simply cut out pre-made questions (any subject), place into empty plastic eggs, and hide around the room. You may have students work independently or on teams to collect and answer questions inside of the eggs on poster or regular paper. Students may not search for and collect another egg until their first egg question is answered on paper. You may choose to award points for most collected and answered correctly.

    To add a challenge to this game, follow Genia's tips for creating an egg scavenger hunt. Using that approach, place clues to the question location inside the eggs and hide the question slips around your room or school. TIP: Make this activity high-tech by placing QR codes linked to questions inside the eggs instead of printed questions!

     

    CUSTOMIZED JEOPARDY

    I use JeopardyLabs for countless activities in the classroom. It's perfect for test prep skills review using two different methods. One way to use this TOTALLY FREE tech tool is for the teacher to pre-program the Jeopardy templates, or search through the abundance of already created games on the site. Then, divide your class into partners or teams and play the game just like the TV show.

    My favorite way to really gauge student understanding and engage the entire class is to give the STUDENTS the categories you wish to review and have them create the game. They absolutely love this, and it takes their review to the next level by creating the game themselves. The best part is, you can have the rest of the class play the games created by their classmates (perhaps divide teams and assign different subject or topic review to each) to review in a second way!


    However you choose to review skills as you prepare for assessments, I hope you make it easy for you and fun and engaging for your students! I'd love to hear the creative ways YOU prep students for testing. Please share!

    Thanks for reading and see you next week!

     

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