Monday, April 1, 2013

Tips for Reteaching Prior to Testing and a FREEBIE

We are out for spring break this week. Hooray! I'm enjoying sleeping in a bit, at least until 8:30, and hanging out in my PJ's. Sweet! However our state testing is just around the corner and I wanted to share a few tips I use to help my little ones get ready.

First, I solicit volunteers. I have narrowed my focus on my lowest performing group of sweeties. During math, I want to small-group them without interruption and reteach skills they still struggle with. Problem - how to manage the rest? Solution – plan to use review games on skills they need refreshing and use a volunteer, when you can, to help you manage it. I have been so fortunate to have my own son, who is a senior this year, come in and help for about 2 hours every Thursday and Friday.  (Volunteering in the workplace is part of his Honor’s curriculum.) This is exactly what he's been doing in my classroom. He takes care of re-explaining the game directions, solving partner squabbles, managing the noise level, etc. He even plays with them if someone needs a partner.  He loves it, they love him, and I love seeing my small group of strugglers "get it" as I reteach a much needed skill they missed, while my other sweeties are getting a much needed refresher at the same time!

Second, I narrow my focus. Above I mentioned that I had "narrowed my focus" on my lowest performing group of students. For Math, I use our county's benchmark tests to help me do this. I choose the neediest six students based on the data. I write their names down, and then I check their scantron or answer sheet and write the number of the problems down next to their name. After I have done that for all six students, I circle the question numbers that most of them missed. This keeps me from wasting time teaching something they already know. I look at the skills that these questions addressed and why my students missed them. For example, with elapsed time, I found that they just didn't know how to calculate when they had to go backwards into the previous hour to find a “start time”.  They answered several other elapsed time questions correctly. In this small group, I was able to keep their attention and give them more of my individualized attention.  I love my small groups because as I observe them working out their problems, I can more easily see when their skill knowledge starts to break down. 

I will continue to share test pre tips as we get near to these assessments.  Don’t miss my next post as I will be including a printable chart with key words for students to look for to help them with different types of reading questions.

For now, since I shared how I was working with my students to calculate elapsed time, I want to share these elapsed time story problems you can use with your kiddos in your small group time, or whenever you want.  Click here to grab your copy.  Have a great week!  


  Freebie Fridays

1 comment:

  1. Susan,
    We seem to have a lot in common... Like yourself I've been teaching for 15 years most of which have been in 3rd grade (love it). I'm also preparing my kiddos for our state exam which is coming up on the 15th of April.
    I've recently been blogging about how I motivate my kiddos during this time of year and I'd love it if you'd stop by!
    Thanks for sharing,
    :0) Melissa
    More Time 2 Teach


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