Anyway, we made it to Houston right as the rehearsal dinner was starting last night, and then I went to sleep as soon as it was over. Now I'm taking it easy in our hotel room, and I'm finally going to share with y'all some of the activities we did in my class the week before our STAAR test.
Since I decided to go with a camping theme (I told the kids we were going to be camping under the STAARs), I asked my parents if they had a tent we could borrow, and one parent had a tent that fit perfectly in my room! My kids made stars to help them remember the STAAR acrostic poem (more on that later), and I hung them up above the tent. My students LOVED reading and working in that tent - it was the best motivator ever!
Each day of the week, we reviewed/practiced all of the reading and math skills and concepts we'd learned that year. For the multiplication and division review day, I decided to make things more fun by making a scavenger hunt. In this scavenger hunt, though, my students were hunting for the answers to the problems they'd already worked on in class. I gave my students 12 multiplication and division word problems (they came from an old Step Up to TAKS workbook), and once they finished solving/answering them in class, they would take their word problems, a clipboard and red pen, and a map of our school to go hunt for the answers. The maps had 12 x's on it, and each x marked where a tent would be posted. Each tent was labeled on the outside with the question number, and when you lifted the flaps, you'd see that question inside the tent, with the correct answer bubbled in. So, my students were able to grade themselves as they found each tent. By the time they came back to my room, their paper would be checked, they'd know which questions they missed, and I'd immediately get to go over those missed questions with them. While it took quite a bit of time to make the 12 tents, my kids all loved this activity, and now it's already made and ready to use again next year!
S - Stay focused
T - Take small breaks
A - Answer carefully
A - Always use strategies
R - Review your work
Since we were told we had to have all math/reading/test related things taken down or covered during the test, I just made bigger stars to cover the ones I'd made, and I used more brown construction paper to cover up the tent. Studies have shown that students test better in familiar, comfortable environments, so instead of taking everything down or covering it up with unfriendly black butcher paper, I just made it look like it had looked at the beginning of the week (although I just realized as I was typing this that I could have simply taken the tent down and just turned it backwards, with the words facing the wall, instead of covering it up with more paper - how wasteful of me!). That's why the stars that my kids made were only decorated - they couldn't have written the STAAR poem on their stars or else I would have had to take them down during the test - so I just told the kids to think of those stars as a reminder of what the poem meant. Since the poem was short and simple, they memorized it quickly and easily, and one morning for morning work, I had my students come up with their own testing strategy acrostic poem using their name (I found this idea here!), and the poems they came up with were awesome! I'm sad I forgot to take pictures - since we made these poems the day before the test, I had to send them home that day because I couldn't have them posted in my room or even in the hall.
We did much, much more than what I showed you here, but this was what I remembered to take pictures of! I realize none of those activities above are about reading, but we just read different fiction stories about camping, and then, to review how to read/answer questions/think about non-fiction stories, we read a bunch of books about different animals and insects that might live in the woods near a camp ground. I also bought this on TpT - Hope's activities definitely made my plans easier!
That's all I've got for y'all today - I am so ready for my schedule to get back to normal so I can feel on top of things again. We'll get back to Austin tomorrow evening, and then my sister's birthday is on Monday, JJ's birthday is on Tuesday, and then Wednesday - Friday I'll be going along with our 5th graders to be a counselor at their big end of the year camp. This'll be my third year to go, and while it's always a lot of fun (especially because some of the 5th graders were in my class two years ago!), that means I have three days worth of sub plans to write...so on that note, it's time to get off my blog and get on to writing plans! Have a great weekend, y'all!