Have Fun While Preparing for Standardized Testing!

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People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.
Dale Carnegie

 

Many years ago, Volkswagen presented an initiative called The Fun Theory Award. The premise behind the award is that fun is the easiest way to change people’s behavior for the better. The competition encouraged participants to submit entries demonstrating how to take a simple task and make it fun. Entries included The Play Belt for keeping your seat belt on as a fun thing to do and The Piano Staircase encouraging a fun way to climb a staircase.

Instead of dreading preparation for standardized tests, what if we looked forward to celebrating the sharing of knowledge acquired throughout the year? Keeping The Fun Theory Award in mind, let’s challenge our traditional anxieties over testing and bring a positive mindset to our classrooms by introducing fun activities that reinforce and review learning and bring joy to our classrooms.

Keeping the fun in mind, here are some websites for test preparation that support academics, yet still provide fun for all:

  • Oh h1 is an addictive problem solving and logic game that increases in difficulty as you play. This game is excellent for developing thinking skills and motivating students to work quickly and accurately.
  • VOCAB-u-lous challenges middle school students to develop their vocabulary and dictionary skills through a word search game. Adjust this activity to meet any grade or subject level by incorporating science and math terms, or grade-appropriate vocabulary.
  • Flashcards are an excellent way to bring fun into learning vocabulary words. Inside Story Flashcards are more than flashcards, each card provides an image, definition, and audio. Vocabulary words offer challenges for beginning learners through advanced level.
  • Reinforce science concepts through Fun Science Demos. These YouTube videos show science through fun activities explaining static electricity and states of matter.
  • Math Antics offers another fun YouTube Channel. Here you will find plenty of silliness along with along with math concepts for students from Grade 3 on up.

In addition to these fun sites, here are some suggestions for making test prep “fun” in your classroom:

  • Encourage students to view tests as a vehicle for validating and sharing their learning successes from throughout the school year. Intrinsic motivation helps students to consider testing in a positive manner instead of something to fear. Create a bulletin board for students to share their personal learning successes as a visual display reminder of lessons learned throughout the school year.
  • Use gameplay as much as possible. Turn review information into games using a Jeopardy format, online quizzes, or charades. You and your students will both enjoy games as a fun format for learning.
  • Involve students as much as possible. Let them create the review questions and materials to share with the class.
  • If weather permits, take your review sessions outside. Use colored chalk to write answers on the pavement or go on a scavenger hunt to find facts.

Standardized testing is never fun; however, it is possible to make it less stressful through fun activities. What do you do to make testing “fun” in your classroom? We would love to hear about it in the comments.

 

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About the author: Sharon Hall

Sharon Hall was a recipient of the Presidential Award of Excellence in Math teaching. With over 15 years of classroom experience as a National Board Certified teacher, Sharon shares her content knowledge and reflections on ideas for basic classroom technology integration with us.


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