Well my friends, I don’t know about you, but the new year has always brought me testing anxiety! Gotta get those kids ready to take the TEST. However, this year I have a little less stress than usual.
Did I get the gifted students? Nope!
Do all my kids read on grade level? I wish!
Did I learn some test taking strategies in the past few years that work? Yes, and this post will share them with you!
Last year, I learned the power of having the students write or tally their thoughts while they are reading. So, this year I have been working really hard to teach my students how to “work” any text they are reading. You can read my first post about that here.
I have taught my kiddos from DAY 1, (well maybe not day 1, but really early on!) to “work” ANY and ALL text they read. Here is a snapshot of a student’s paper after working the text from my previous post.
Before we left for our winter break, we had to take our Literacy Quarterly Assessment from our district. I had prepared my students with all of these strategies and now was the final showdown…would they use them? And, they did! Those little kiddos worked so hard on that test. They were working the text, working the questions, working the answers! I have never been more impressed with my students before! Now, a little background, only 4 of my 27 students were actually reading on grade level at the beginning of year and 12 were on a 2nd/3rd grade level. So this was huge for them!
Want to see some examples?
These two kiddos both used the FQR Strategy to help them comprehend this lengthy nonfiction text. You can’t see in the pictures, but it is three pages long! By the way, FQR stands for Fact/Question/Response. When they respond on a daily basis, they actually write out their facts, questions, and responses. However, for the sake of time, I have taught them to make tally marks to indicate they have done this mentally. It really works and helps them think about the text as they are reading. You can see the first kid messed up the order, but hey, whatever works!
The next two students used a strategy that works with fiction or nonfiction texts. PCIQS (and yes, they have it memorized!) P-Predictions, C-Connections, I-Inferences, Q-Questions, S-Summary. The first student did the tally marks in a table. The second student is a faster reader and test taker so she had time to actually write out her thoughts. Either way! Remember, the end goal is to get them thinking while they are reading these rigorous test passages!
Now, all of the above showed the students reading and processing the text. Now onto the questioning.
We have been working very hard on “justifying why” in all subjects…math, reading, science…everything! We have had several conversations about what justifying looks like: It can be a word, a phrase, a sentence, and sometimes a paragraph. These next two pictures show some major justification going on.
Last little picture to share with you. I found this on one of my kid’s paper! How precious! We made motivational study books and we included phrases like this. This little guy carried it over to his test! I just <3 these kids!
That is all for today. I start back to school tomorrow. 🙁 I would love to hear how you prepare your students for high stakes reading tests!