Monday, May 16, 2016

Math Test Prep

Oh it's that lovely time of year when you've taught all of the standards so the kiddos think it's time to kick back and relax until schools out.... NOT. It's crunch time to review and prepare for the "lovely" EOG! We've been spiral reviewing all year, but these past couple of weeks have been going back to the big topics of multiplication, division, and fractions. Here's some things we're doing to get ready!

Practice Tests

We've been taking practice EOG's and then going over them in groups and as a class to get used to the question stems and vocabulary, but also to build the stamina to sit and answer 50+ questions! We've taken 4 practice tests, one each week on a Monday before the big day. We then spend a little time each day for the following week going over the problems.

What I do is have them get in small groups and discuss their answers one page at a time. I've done it where they just have a discussion, or play "Showdown" and determine one answer as the correct one with proof, or have them take turns teaching each other. This is much less intimidating in a group of four than as a whole class. The first time we did this we did it during my "math with teacher" group to model how this should look and how to nicely disagree and support your answer with evidence and showing work!

Four practice tests seems like a lot.. and it is. After our third I had my class take a vote if they wanted to take one last practice test. The fourth test won 40-5. Sorry 'bout it you five kiddos LOL! I actually was impressed by my students reasons for wanting to take another one- they knew it wasn't for a grade so there was no stress involved, and it also gave them more practice. They also liked to set a reasonable goal and try to beat it each time with their scores :) I also think the Mr. Sketch markers had an impact here.. we never used them until we took the practice tests and they were able to check their answers and show work with them. Wow.. if they could use Mr. Sketch on the test I have no doubt my kiddos would show work for every single problem just to smell fruit punch! HA!

Besides the practice tests I've also gotten out the task cards with some multi step questions and deeper thinking! These have been great in my teacher group and for discussing strategies. Here's a set of multiplication and division task cards (set of 24) that we worked a lot with, being a big focus of third grade!

"I can" games with bubble sheets

I bought the "I Can" bundle from the One Stop Teacher Shop on TpT at the beginning of the year. She has these math games for all math standards grades K-6. You just print, cut, and put in a pringles can!

As we learned each topic we played the game that went along with it. Students answered questions that were grouped by standards, multiple choice, and they were able to self check by scanning QR codes! I love the technology integration there. I took these games out again these past few weeks but this time my students played it and bubbled their answers. We've had some practice bubbling but we needed a reminder of what a nice dark bubble looks like :) These were great practice and also helped them make sure they were not misaligned! I use Zipgrade to scan bubble sheets in seconds. Click here to see how much I love zipgrade and all the ways it can save you time with grading!!

Fluency games 

To break up the day as we take practice tests, complete task cards, and bubble, we like to play quick fluency games to review and get us moving.

Fast facts

Fast facts are just that- answering math facts fast. You can use flash cards read out loud or under a projector, you can write them on the board, or you can make a PowerPoint with a timer! We do this with multiplication facts on the smart board. I just typed a bunch into PowerPoint. Every now and again I'll stop and whatever the product is they have to do that many jumping jacks or toe touches. I also let them sit on their desk to play, just to add more fun.


Sparkle is a game often used for spelling, where students pass a ball spelling a word letter by letter. After the word is spelled the next person says "sparkle" and is out. They are also out if they miss a letter. We took this game and did a math spin. We play by multiples. So if I say "multiples of 6" they will pass the ball and count 6, 12, 18, 24, 30, 36, 42, 48, 54, 60, SPARKLE! We stop at the 10 fact. We have also done this by fractions. If I say count by fourths, they'll go 1/4, 2/4, 3/4, 1, 1 and 1/4, 1 and 2/4, 1 and 3/4, 2. Every child that says a whole number must sit. You keep going until one person remains!

Quiz Quiz Trade

Quiz Quiz Trade is a Kagan game, and works well for any kind of flashcards you have, or vocabulary flash cards. Students will walk around the room and pair up. One will ask the other the answer to their flash card, then the other student will ask, and then they trade cards. We have modeled ways to help peers figure out an answer without giving away the answer. This is great for multiplication, and if someone is stuck help them by using distributive property or other facts they know. You can also do this with math vocabulary words and definitions or examples on the back of the card. I even have my kiddos make the flash cards for extra practice!

I hope everyone's testing goes well and this helps with some ideas to prepare! Best of luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor ;)

Rock on,


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