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March 6, 2013 A State Assessment Family Night That's For the Birds! By Shari Edwards
Grades 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    Are you looking for a way to send your students off to state assessments ready to do their best? Would you like a fun approach to remind parents of good test taking tips they can use to help their children be prepared? Everyone likes a game of “Angry Birds!”  Here is an idea that is sure to attract and excite!


    assessment presentation






    Possible Agenda:

    Families arrive, sign in, and find a place to sit.

    The Parent Involvement Team welcomes the families to "Angry Birds" Assessment Night and the instructional coach and teachers give a presentation about the upcoming State Assessments and answer questions.

    girls reading math assessment item“Angry Birds” games are distributed and instructions are given. Players set up a cup tower and put pom pom pigs on it. They each choose a game marker, place it on start, and then take turns rolling the dice and moving their game marker on the game board. When a player lands on a square with a bird, they choose a math problem card and read it aloud. The player finds the answer to the problem and, if it's correct, they get to catapult the angry birds into the tower. The players take turns until someone reaches the last box on the game board.

    mom and daughter play gamemom and daughter






    moms and sons









    Let families play the game together for at least 20 to 30 minutes. Refreshments can be served during this time, also.


    The “Tower of State Assessment Fears and Misconceptions” is the culminating event of the evening. A teacher asks questions about good test-taking practices to students (and parents!) who would like a chance to knock down the tower. If they answer correctly they are given a ball and get in line in front of the tower. When the questions are all answered, let everyone in line take a turn at knocking down the tower.

    tower with pigsgirl throwing



    Cover assorted empty boxes with paper and gather objects to use for the big tower.

    Advertise early and play up the "Angry Bird" theme. State Assessment Night never sounds like a lot of fun so let them know this will be different!

    game contents



    Find and make copies of practice tests on different colors of paper for each grade level. Cut them into individual test items to use as game cards.

    Gather supplies and make the "Angry Bird" games. Glue googly eyes and felt  features on pigs and birds. Make catapult by hot gluing popsicle sticks together. Make a V from two popsicle sticks. Double the sticks on the handle and place the bottom of the V, that forms the top of the catapult, between the two sticks. Stretch part of a large rubber band  across the V and hot glue it to both sides of the V. Wrap the ends of the rubber band around the stick and hot glue it. Glue the bottle cap in the middle of the rubber band.  Place the game into a baggy. Make at least one game per family that you are expecting, plus a few extras.

    What You Need:

    Game - Supplies per game

    • six small cupscatapult
    • three small green pom-poms for pigs and one yellow, blue, red for birds
    • 12 googly eyes
    • small scraps of felt in assorted colors for bird and pig features
    • thick rubber band
    • four popsicle sticks
    • one bottle cap
    • four small erasers to use for game pieces
    • game instruction sheet


    • one die
    • one gallon baggy
    • hot glue
    • test item cards
    • answer sheets
    • folder to hide answer sheets
    • paper or cardstock game board (click on image to right - this was put together by one of our paras, April Curry)

    Tower Supplies

    tower of state assessment fears and misconceptions

    • assorted empty cardboard boxes
    • craft paper to cover boxes
    • spools, crates, or other object s to add to the tower
    • round, green balloons
    • green paper for pig faces
    • hot glue
    • tennis balls or large pom-pom balls


    Other Suppliestest tips

    • test tips for parents to take home
    • refreshments
    • sign-in sheets
    • paper and pencils to work problems




    There were smiles all around as families packed up their "Angry Birds" games to take home at the end of the event. Every time we get that reaction from parents who have taken the time to come to school in the evening, it helps to ensure good turn-outs at future events.

    Parents asked good questions, saw several examples of State Assessment items, and got a look at possible Common Core assessment items that might show up in the future.

    The testing tip reminders were presented in a fun, non-threatening, way that is sure to engage parents and stick in their minds.


    What do you think?

    How do you prepare students and their families for the State Assessments?







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Susan Cheyney