This year I have been using the Lucy Calkins Reading Workshop plan and lucky me, there is a section on Test Prep section! This plan makes test prep fun and my kids actually enjoy doing it! No more drill and kill!!!!! My class is broken into 3 ability levels and given passages based on their reading level. I had always given all kids the same passage in years past, and wondered why they got burnt out. As I read the test prep plan, it became clear why this happened. Students who struggle to read, don't need to be forced to read too hard text the weeks prior to a test, it only causes frustration and then they shut down. Instead I am giving them passages from a level below which allows them to have success and it builds their confidence! Within each level, there are 4-6 students who each partner up. Each day they read and roadmap a passage and answer questions, without the answers choices. This simple step of taking away the answer choices make my kids think for themselves!
Our schedule for Reading Test Prep looks something like this:
Monday: Teacher read aloud and modeling of roadmapping a passage and questions.
Tuesday and Wednesday: Partners read and roadmap a passage and answer questions together. They then gather with others reading their same passage at the end of workshop to compare their thinking and answers.
Thursday: Students read the passage and roadmap alone, but get with their partner to answer questions. They gather with others reading their same passage at the end of workshop to compare their thinking and answers.
Friday: Students read 2 passages and answer questions alone, and gather with others reading their same passage to compare their thinking and answers.
With this week being the first week, I gave my students all questions without answer choices. Next week, I am going to add questions on Friday and increase each week until they are working out all questions with answer choices. I focused on fiction passages this week, next week we tackle nonfiction!
So the Carnival theme was born as my team talked about how to reward the kiddos for performing well on practice tests. Each week we give them 2 reading passages and 16 math questions, some with calculator and some without. For each question the kiddos get right, they get a ticket to play a game at the Carnival we have on Friday afternoons. If they win their game they get a stamp which they then use to buy prizes at the prize table. The kids had the best time! They all came back talking about it and they all did awesome on their practice tests. Even my EC kids scored the highest they ever had! As if that wasn't enough incentive, the kids who scored the highest in each subject in each class got a chance to play the Wii Carnival game!!!
Can Knock Down
Lucky Duck Pond
Bean Bag Toss
Ping Pong Ball Toss (inspired by Bozo the Clown Show!)
Hope everyone has a great weekend!!!!!!