Sunday, March 30, 2014

Test prep that's as easy as . . . A B C!

Standardized testing season is upon us! Now, in my state 2nd graders no longer take multiple choice format, high stakes tests, but BOY HOWDY do I remember when we did! I thought I'd share a few tips that I gleaned from years of agony. Oops, I meant to say testing. My bad! I get those two terms mixed up all of the time!

These activities are super easy, interactive, and fun! Yes, it is possible to review key content and not use a scantron, paper, or even a #2 pencil!
All you need  is some black construction paper and bright or neon colored copy paper. I die cut a class set of the letters A, B, and C. Then I glued them on one sheet of black paper, laminated them, and cut the page into fourths to make these little cards. It took maybe 20 minutes from start to finish! I use these cards for each one of these activities!

Activity #1 Texas Hold 'Em
I have used this activity as a whole group and in small groups. I always make a BIG deal about how "we don't allow no cheatin', peekin', or smilin' 'round here!" You've got to use your best poker face in Texas Hold 'Em! We would read the question and answer choices.  Everyone would stay totally straight-faced! Then, you reach under the table or inside your desk.  Choose the card that will be your answer. Turn it face down and hold it to your chest. Don't let ANYONE see your card. I would do the same thing. On the count of three, all of the kiddos would lay their cards on the table revealing their answer. Then, with much drama and fanfare, I slowly revealed my card! While they either rejoiced or moaned, I noted who missed that particular question. I usually used a blank page from my gradebook with their names down the side and the question numbers across the top. Thanks to the bright colored letters, wrong answers really stand out! Then, I had great data on what questions were missed and by whom!

Activity #2 Read Your Teacher's Mind

This activity was always a hit in my room! We used the same set of cards as before, but this time the kids had to try to read my mind. We would read the question and the answer choices. I would choose the correct card and hold it up to my head. The kids would have to "read my mind" and see if they could match my answer. 
It was all I could do not to crack up during this activity because I always thought I looked like Johnny Carson when he did his Carnac the Magnificent bit on The Tonight Show!
The kids choose their answer and hold up to their head just like you are doing!
Then, you give the signal and they flip their card over on their forehead. After you scan the room, reveal your card and they get to see who read your mind!

Activity #3 Grab It and Go!
For this activity, I posted an extra set of cards in three corners of my classroom. The corner by the closet was A. The corner by the bookshelf was B. The corner by their backpack hooks was C. The kids laid their cards face up on their desks. We read the question and answer choices. We all said, "Grab it and go!" Then, they snatched up the card that was their answer. They hustled (walking only--no running or pushing) to stand in that answer's corner. I had tried just doing the corners without the cards, but I ended up with some kids who just followed the crowd aimlessly.  This way, they have to commit to an answer before they leave their work space. 

The kids love saying, "Grab it and go!" They have to leave their space right after we chant that.  No stragglers allowed!


  1. These are absolutely phenomenal!! This is my first year of teaching and also my first year of really experiencing the dread of testing and review. These review games are just awesome, and I KNOW my kiddos are going to enjoy them (me, too!). Thank you SO much!!

    1. Thank you so much, Julie! Teaching has changed SO much since I first started! When I think about being a first year teacher in today's education system, all I can say is, "Bless your sweet heart!" I hope that these activities are helpful to you! Good luck with testing!