5 Apps to Support Close Reading

I'm Erin from Technology Erin*tegration. I am excited to share my technology twist on close reading using iPads. Thanks for having me, Rachel! 
Just as there are many models for Close Reading, there are a multitude of apps that will support your students in digging deeper into a text. I am sharing my 5 favorite free apps for annotating and note taking on the iPad. These apps will work with any book or reading passage and can be used for each step of the close reading process. 
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1. Paperport Notes is my go-to app for close reading. Offering a robust selection of tools including stickie notes, highlighting, voice to text capabilities, importing and exporting .pdf files and the ability to add multiple pages from a book to annotate in one set of notes, this free workhorse app can be used for any close reading task. 

There are three ways students can add text in Paperport Notes: by downloading a .pdf directly from a URL, by taking pictures of the text, or by importing a .pdf shared in Google Docs or Dropbox. 
In my classroom, the students typically take pictures of passages from a text they are currently reading. After annotating, they save each note-set in the app. Notes are quickly retrieved for the "discussion" portion of our close read. Since we are not 1:1 with iPads, I like that this app will save multiple note-sets in the app so several students can share the same iPad but be doing different work.
  erintegration close reading
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2. GlowNote Free is for amped up annotating with fancy colors, fonts, stickers, and effects. If you are trying to infuse your close reading with excitement and possibly give yourself a headache while assessing your students' work, I would use this app. We have used GlowNote to find the heart of a story or the main idea of a passage.
Students search for the main idea, take a picture of a scene in the story, then write, underline, or circle their evidence. Then students can use the blinking borders, neon effects, and emojii's to make their annotation sing. This app does have ads so only use this if you have prepped your students with an iPad safety lesson. Students can email finished GlowNotes to you. However, there is no option for saving them to the camera roll. We simply used another iPad to film a clip of the note to upload to YouTube. You can then take the YouTube URL and make a GIF like the one below:
I created step-by-step visual direction sheets and close reading activities for using both Paperport Notes and Glow Notes available at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store
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3. Skitch can be used to draw or label an image. Skitch will save any work as an image so students will only be able to annotate one page of reading at a time. Skitch is also limited in that students must take pictures of a passage - there are no .pdf importing features. However, I recommend Skitch for adding annotating marks like arrow, hearts, exclamation points, question marks, emojis or any small symbol that can be written with your finger. We have used Skitch to label graphic and text features in a nonfiction text and to identify context clues for unknown words.

  erintegration annotate  
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4. ThingLink is an app and a website that allows students to make touchable (or clickable) multimedia images. Teachers can create a free class account and student users. For close reading, students would upload an image, then add text, links, or video "nubs" that open when touched. ThingLink is my first choice when close reading a nonfiction passage. Students can find videos and photos online to link to the passage. Students can also link other books that connect to the passage. Hover your mouse or touch once with your finger to reveal the clickable "nubs" on the example below: 

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5. Sticky is a free app for adding sticky notes and pictures to a background. Students would take a picture of a passage from a book they are reading. They can upload their image then add various sticky notes around the text. Students cannot underline or write on the text and there are no .pdf imports or exports. However, my students like that you can change the font and color of the stickies too. I use this app if I want my students to write connections, inferences, or make predictions on stickies. Students can take a screenshot of their work to save to the iPad camera roll. You can download a free activity packet featuring making inferences using the app here. The packet also includes step-by-step visual directions for your students. We recently used the activity packet to create inferences using clues we saw at home or school.
erintegration inferences
Learn more creative ways to "Erin-tegrate" iPads into instruction at my blog, Erintegration, or connect with me on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. I am a current 3rd grade teacher with a Masters in Education and ten years of experience in the classroom. I am also my elementary school's technology integration facilitator. When I'm not teaching or creating iPad activities for my store, I'm reading, playing and being silly with my twin toddlers.

6 Secrets to Successful Research with Kids

Research, the very word, can draw shudders from teachers and audible sighs from students. If you are one of those shuddering educators dreading that next research project, then you are truly going about research all wrong. Take it from this elementary school librarian!! I have been an elementary educator for twenty years, and a certified library media specialist for the last seven years. I am so pleased that Rachel has let me be your virtual librarian today on Minds in Bloom.
How about a few insider secrets to turns those sighs into high fives?? I have six, not so secret, secrets. Be warned! I am NOT a purist in research theology! A TRUE research project follows certain steps, is written in a certain format, and is followed with a perfect bibliography. The ability to complete a TRUE research project independently should be a requirement for those career and college ready. But guess what? I work with kids, and some pretty little ones at that. I strive to make research fun and engaging! Wouldn't you like to as well? Well, here we go ...
1) Your librarian should be your best resource. But, research is NOT just for the library. Research is just a word used to describe the process of discovering new information, seeking answers, and studying a topic deeper. As an educator, you are ALREADY guiding your students to research. Every. Single. Day. Each time that a student learns a new fact, they have performed a baby step along the research journey. Often, I find that teachers place too much emphasis on the concept of research. They make it heavy. They turn it into a burden; when, truly, research is happening a dozen times a day. Let your students know that each time you say the words, "Let's look it up." you are completing research. It's just that easy!
2) You can easily teach inquiry-based research skills in short bursts of time. Research projects do not need to be long, drawn out, or take days upon days to complete. For example, during a lesson, one of your kids asks an interesting question that you don't quite know the answer to. Don't say, "Let me get back to you on that." Instead say, "Well, let's take a second to research that." Don't just look up the answer and share it. Talk out loud. Explain the steps that you are taking. What resource are you using? What keyword did you choose? How did you know which page/website link to go to? Model it for them. There, now you have completed a shared research task. Won't Common Core be happy??
3) I believe that it is our job to set our students up for success. Research is hard work! I often compare it to a treasure hunt; you can do a whole lot of digging for just one gold nugget. BUT, when our kids are first trying out their research wings, we don't want them to be weighed down and frustrated.
Scaffold the project. Don't just tell your kiddos that they are going to research bats. Instead, prepare some graphic organizers that require them to research types of bats, their habitats, diet, and life cycle. These types of graphic organizers help to create a foundation for their future research skills. With time, students will adapt bits of your organizational methods as their own.
Provide strong resources. Treasure hunts are NEVER fun if you are digging in the wrong spot. They are simply too hard, too discouraging, and will lead you to NEVER want to pick up another shovel. Don't do that to your students. If they are researching bat habitats, be sure that you lead them to a resource that will have great facts about habitats. There are still a great many research skills that are being met in reading, comprehending, and deciphering the text. There is nothing wrong with pointing them in the right direction. One of the best ways that I have found to support my students is to create Clickable Interactive PDF bibliographies. Here's an example of one that I created for students working on animal research projects. It's free, and you are welcome to it. Go ahead. Click on it. Download it. Use it!!
Simplify the citation process. ALL researchers should cite their sources, even if you are just a seven-year old freckled face kid. In saying that, I firmly believe that there is not enough time in our day to force said seven-year old to locate each and every aspect of the publication's details. I have seen students who have NEVER even got to read the text because it took them so long to copy down the citation. This is a tedious task that is once again sending the wrong message to our fledgling researchers.
Kids just need to keep track of WHERE their facts come from. This process can easily be simplified in many ways. Take a peek at my FREE resource, It's Elementary-Bibliography for the Youngest Students. You can learn even more about encouraging kids to record where their research facts are coming from, without burdening them!
4) Successful research inquiries begin with strong keywords! Keywords are needed for utilizing printed table of contents and indexes AND for researching websites and databases. Students need to be able to look at a question and decide what the key words are. I like to explain to kids that a keyword will UNLOCK the answer to their question, just like a key unlocks a door. This is a skill that needs lots and lots of practice. 
Some people, even a few librarians, think that simple fact-finding questions lack depth and complexity. Well, sure they do, but there are still many benefits to finding the answer to, "Who was president in 1882?" "How many legs does a spider have?" and "What is the capital of Zimbabwe?" Those simple research questions require students to read for comprehension, identify the keyword, locate pertinent articles by using that keyword, scan for the keyword in the text, and seek out answers. Not bad for just a simple question, huh? Each time that you are seeking text-based evidence with your kids, ask your students to identify the keyword. Use the word, "keyword" in your daily discussions. Again. And again. I have found that the youngsters with a strong sense of keywords are the best researchers.
5) Create a final product that is fun and exciting. It is possible. Really! You will be hard-pressed to get your kids excited about a research project if the end result is going to be a five paragraph essay with an introduction, three detail paragraphs, and a conclusion. Just saying!! How about shaking things up a bit?   Utilize task cards. Use apps to create a storyboard or comic strip. Invite students to create an A to Z report. Have students pretend that they are a reporter breaking a news story. Record them. Create a file folder report or a research poster. How about an interactive report, similar to interactive notebooks? I have created state and country reports that utilize many interactive elements. Students are excited to conduct the research and even more excited to put together the project. One of my students said it best when he said, "I am definitely NOT letting my Mom throw this away." 
6) Don't get hung up on the word research!! Research reports shouldn't be a "unit" that you teach; they should be an ongoing, daily process. Isn't that our reality today?? We have the internet in our hands, a finger tip away! We use it a hundred time's a day. Show your kids. Model. Model. Model. And, most importantly, have fun with it. It really is possible.
Sonya is an elementary school librarian who has a genuine passion for what she does. She loves books, kids, and technology! She is excited about all of the opportunities that threading these three things together brings each and every day. Sonya tends The Library Patch where she can be found on Teachers Pay Teachers, Facebook, Pinterest, and a librarian inspired blog.

Trying a New Classroom Approach

How excited am I to be here!?!? I am Melanie from Momma with a Teaching Mission. I am a first grade teacher in Maryland. I teach on a departmentalized team. Departmentalized means teaching one subject to the entire grade level, instead of teaching multiples subjects to the same group of 20 kids.
Are you a stressed out elementary school teacher? OF COURSE YOU ARE! Who isn't in this world!?! With the common core or other new curriculum that your district may have adopted, teacher evaluations, test scores, planning, committees, and actually teaching students----teachers are spread VERY thin. And that's not even mentioning your own personal life---what personal life, right!?!
What if I said there is a way you could eliminate some of that stress? Now, we all know there is never a QUICK fix to anything, or anything worth doing well. But, I do have my own personal experience I can share about how my team and I made our lives easier this year.
After a year of HUGE class sizes, mediocre test scores, TREMENDOUS behavior problems, hours upon hours of planning, and seeming like we were just treading water. Not. getting. anywhere. Completely stressful, and completely hopeless.
We decided to try something new. 
We had heard of other schools departmentalizing with success at the primary level, so we thought, why not!?! After all, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. We had nothing to lose!
So during our back to school night that we had 2 nights before school started, we informed parents of our plan. We held a presentation, there were many unimpressed parents. Their concerns were valid--"my student won't make a connection with his teacher" , "there will be some many germs a student will encounter traveling from classroom to classroom" , "my student will get freaked out by having 5 different teachers". All those concerns were calmed during the first few weeks of school.
We were able to make connections and feel accountable for all 97 of our students. It's no longer 'my class' and 'your class' or 'my data' and 'your data'. We are accountable for the entire grade. We are able to meet with parents as a team to address any concerns or questions. We become an expert at ONE subject, not juggling 5 different subjects AND differentiating for 5 different subjects! I do have more papers to grade, however I have 97 math quizzes to grade instead of 20 math quizzes, 20 reading responses, 20 spelling tests, 20 writing prompts, and 20 science/social studies papers.
Currently, I am teaching math. We switch every marking period, so we stay fresh with the subjects. With math, I am able to differentiate for each of my 5 classes. Within each class, I am able to pull groups, based off my data. Our classes are fluid, so if we see that one student is excelling, or maybe needing more help, we are able to move them to the group that is a good fit for them. Yes, that does mean our classes are homogeneously grouped.  Our high-level learners are a larger size, so our lower level learners are able to get that small group instruction where they are excelling!
So how is this going to make your life less stressful? Within my experience, the students are better behaved! They get to move from class to class every 50 minutes. The transition time is very quick, 3 minutes tops! We don't have to spend time on brain breaks (unless we want to, but we don't feel that we NEED to). 
We have also gained some of our sanity back by not having those behavior problems the entire day. We have found that this has helped not only the students with behavioral issues, but also us as their teacher! We are able to share those students, as well as daily conversation about how 'so and so' is doing today. We are able to tackle issues that arise as a team, or able to talk to each other about our opinions about a student.
Did I mention our test scores?!?! Ok, so we do MAP testing, three times a year. We compared our 1st graders last year from fall to winter to our first graders this year from fall to winter. Our overall 1st grade grew 10% more in reading and 12% more in math than last years first graders!! We have been able to push those high kids, as well as truly reach and help those lower level learners along. I finally feel like I'm making a difference!! Can you feel my enthusiasm!!
My teacher life this year has been so much less stressful. Now do I still feel the stress and pressure? OH of course, I'd be lying if I said no. However, in comparison to last year, I feel like I have a life outside of school.
I will say that you have to have everyone on your team fully committed to this idea. With sharing the responsibilities of educating your young ones, it is imperative that you are able to trust and rely on your teammates. If one of your teammates is not on board, it is hard to see the full potential and impact that departmentalizing can make. If you have any questions, or would like more information, you can find me at my blog: Momma with a Teaching Mission I also have many great items for sale in my TpT store you can check it out here: Momma with a Teaching Mission on TpT
Take care!

I am a mother of 4 amazing kids! I was able to finish my dream of becoming a teacher after having 3 of my own children. I teach 1st grade in MD. God has abundantly blessed me!!

Would You Rather Questions for Spring and Easter

Flowers by: Whimsy Workshop

Would you rather....
Have flowers growing out of the top of your head
Have butterflies constantly flying in a circle around your head?

Would you rather....
Have a magic Easter Basket that produces ten chocolate eggs each morning
Have a bunny that can talk?

Kids love Would You Rather questions like these and now you can get 20 of them, themed for spring and Easter for free! These make terrific discussion prompts or journal prompts. You can also use them for class polls or with Brain Breaks. Many teachers like to use them whenever they have a few spare moments.

Happy Teaching!

The Teacher and the Speech-Language Pathologist: Tips for Effective Collaboration

These days, you will find at least one child in every classroom that receives speech and language services of some sort. This means that you, as the teacher, will probably have some type of interaction with the school's Speech-Language Pathologist ( SLP ).
In the past, SLPs and teachers tended to keep to themselves, however, as teaching methods have evolved so have treatment methods for SLPs. These newer methods mean that there will be more interaction between the two professions than before. Don't, be afraid of these changes! I'm here today to give you some tips and ideas on how to collaborate with your SLP to make sure your students are as successful as possible.
Why is it important?
Collaboration between a student's SLP and teacher is important to the student's progress and success. Integrating the materials and information being addressed in the classroom into speech sessions can help students make connections to areas being addressed and then generalizing the information from speech therapy into the classroom. It shows the student that their teacher and SLP are working as a team and that they both care about the student's success in speech. It is also important for the teacher to be aware of what the student is working on speech therapy and how those areas may impact their classroom performance.
Tips for General Collaboration
Here are some suggestions for you on how you can work with the school SLP no matter what service model they are using.
  • Find out what your student's speech and language goals are at the beginning of the year. The SLP will be able to provide you with the information about what their goals are, how they can impact them in the classroom, and what you can do help support them.
  • Ask the SLP if they have testing accommodations. Some speech and language difficulties are so severe that the student requires accommodations for work or testing. Make sure you are aware of these at the beginning of the year, or when the student begins services, if the student starts services mid-year.
  • Set up a time each week to discuss the student, or students, in your class who are receiving speech services. It doesn't have to be a lot, a little bit of time can go along way. I recommend at least 10 minutes. Talk about what you are focusing on in class, what lessons and topics are coming up, and if you have noticed the student struggling or succeeding.
  • Provide previews of materials you are looking to use in the classroom. The SLP may be able to use the materials in their speech sessions to prep the student for the classroom. Integrating classroom materials into speech therapy is a great way for the student to review the skills they are learning with the speech and language support they need. Likewise, the SLP may have some materials and resources that you may be able to use in your class to help support students, as well as, have them make connections and generalize skills.
  • Be open to new, out of the box ideas. This goes for both parties. Sometimes scheduling, suggestions, and ideas work out perfectly and sometimes they don't. Trial and error is a part of collaboration, so be open to giving all ideas a fair chance. 
Speech Services and Collaboration 
These days, there has been a push (pun, intended) for more push-in/inclusion speech therapy. The theory behind it is that the more time the student spends in the classroom, getting exposure to peers, the more they will learn from them and hopefully generalize into their academic day. With push-in speech therapy, the student would be receiving their speech services inside the classroom surrounded by their peers. The hope being that they would generalize the skills being targeted in speech with the skills being targeted in the classroom. 
Now, this can be a great model for some students, but it is not a one-size-fits-all model. Some students still benefit more from receiving speech services out of the classroom. Sometimes the classroom produces too much distraction for the student to focus on learning speech and language skills that are key building blocks to development.
The type of speech service, either push-in or pull-out, is typically stated in the student's IEP. Their IEP is a legal and binding document. If the IEP says the student must receive push-in minutes, they have to have push-in minutes. 
Here are some tips for working with the SLP when your student is going to be receiving push-in speech services.
  • Decide on the type of push-in model that works best for the two of you. There are several different models out there to pick from, but don't be afraid to be creative and make your own if the ones you have looked at and discussed don't meet your needs. Maybe, it is having the SLP push-in and be a 'station' for the student to go to during Daily 5, if your school uses that program.
  • Decide if the push-in speech time will be for the IEP student only, or if the SLP will be able to incorporate other students with language concerns into the group for RtI.
  • Talk about what speech and language goals will be targeted during the push-in speech sessions.
  • Again, finding a few minutes to touch base and do a little planning each week is key to having things run smoothly.
  • Discuss what everyone's roles and expectations will be. What will each person be in charge of in the room when the SLP is providing services? If the SLP is building off of information from a lesson, will they be in charge of reteaching information during the session if the student doesn't understand something? Who will be in charge of prepping classroom materials for the speech students to use during the push-in services? Getting these matters sorted out ahead of time will save you a lot of time, and sanity! 
I have created a free handout that may help to answer some general questions you may have about why your students are receiving speech services. You can download it from The Speech Bubble SLP, my store on Teachers pay Teachers, by clicking the link or image below.
At the end of the day SLPs want what teachers want, to have their students be happy and successful. By working together we can help them achieve that and more! If you have questions about your student's speech and language goals and progress, I recommend speaking to your student's SLP. I want to extend a big 'Thank you' to Rachel for allowing me to share some collaboration ideas with all of you.  
My name is Maureen Wilson and I am an ASHA certified, school-based SLP, Certified Autism Specialist, and have a certificate in Inclusionary Teaching. I have been working in the school system for the past 6 years with students in Kindergarten-5th grade. My blog, The Speech Bubble SLP is where you can visit to find ideas, activities, and materials for speech therapy. I adore using books in speech therapy and enjoy creating new, original materials for my students to use in speech and the classroom. Feel free to stop by The Speech Bubble SLP on Teachers pay Teachers and see what it is all about!
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The Power of Rewards and Incentives in Reading Instruction

Say hello to Jessica Sanders, the Director of Social Outreach for Learn2Earn and our fabulous guest for the day! 
It’s called extrinsic motivation—being motivated to read, or do anything, based on outside factors such as money or rewards.
Extrinsic motivation is evoked when students are incentivized to read more and this is a hot topic in the education world. Many people who are against using a reward system or incentives have two main issues with the technique.
First, they claim that it manipulates kids, cheapens intrinsic motivation, and turns good behavior into work.
However, proponents of reward systems agree that, especially in the case of reading, incentives are a powerful way to motivate children to read before they’ve learned to enjoy it. “The fact is kids have to start reading regularly first before they find topics and books they truly impassion them,” said Raphael Menko, co-founder of Learn2Earn, an online platform that allows students to earn wisdom points and decorate their Owlvatar for reading.
What’s more, teachers that use Learn2Earn to incentivize reading continue to see improvements in their students’ abilities and excitement to read:
Many of my 4th graders are reading below grade level and hate to read. I started using this website a week ago and I am shocked with the improvement of their independent reading. I used to get 5 or 6 paper logs returned each week, now I have 20 out of 25 students reading and logging,” said Corinne G.
The second most popular reason for pushback on using incentives is that it can become expensive for schools that are already hard-pressed for funding.
Yet, in the study summary of The Hamilton Project, conducted by Roland G. Freyer, Jr. from Harvard University and Bradley M. Allan from EdLabs, the two authors explained that they discovered this may not be the case:
Incentives can be a cost-effective strategy to raise achievement among even the poorest minority students in the lowest performing schools if the incentives are given for certain inputs to the educational production function. Paying students to read books yields large and statistically significant increases in reading comprehension.”
Within this particular study, second graders were offered $2 per book read, which lead to a .180 standard deviation improvement—this would normally occur in 2.2 months of schooling.
Incentives vs. What’s Being Incentivized
While the Hamilton study offered money as a reward, you don’t need to follow suit to see positive results. Learn2Earn uses fake online money, called Wisdom Coins, which students use to decorate their owl avatars and the progress teachers see is significant:
My reluctant readers are actually begging me for more time reading and responding. They love earning coins for their work and designing their page and avatars,” said Cheryl R.
The Hamilton Project authors also found that the incentive itself may not even be as important as whether you’re incentivizing input, reading, or output, a high test score, for example. They summarized this finding:
“In our experiments, input incentives were more effective than output incentives, suggesting that students do not know how to increase their test scores. If students only have a vague idea of how to increase their test scores, then when provided with incentives for performance, they may not be motivated to increase effort,” said Freyer and Allan.
Using this theory, it would be best to incentivize students to complete their homework or read more, which may naturally result in improved outputs like higher test scores.
Using This Data in Class
You know your students best. Utilizing incentives, in whatever way you know will motivate your students, is the key to making it a powerful educational tool. Before implementing any system, consider what the ultimate goal is.
“A system starts with a firm idea of what your classroom should look like when all students are actively engaged in the learning process. Then you develop a system that will help you and the students reach that goal. If the system is something that is going to take a huge amount of time and effort to keep track of, it probably won't work. If instead it is used as a catalyst to appropriate behavior, that works much better,” said high school teacher Tory Klemensten to Education World.
Once you know your goal, choose the incentives. Here are a few reward ideas that can be used right away with minimal preparation:
·      Free-time for using computers or playing games
·      Front of the line privileges for a day
·      Sit with the teacher at lunch
·      Get a homework pass
·      Sit at the teacher’s desk for a period of time
·      Fake money to be redeemed in class for small (inexpensive) rewards
·      Be the teacher’s helper for a day
·      Be the chalkboard writer for a day
While the education world is still split on the use of incentives and reward systems in education, many teachers have found this to be a powerful motivator. In the case of reading, incentives motivate students to read more, which helps them discover what they like and ultimately makes reading more fun and enjoyable, both now and later in life.

Bio: Jessica Sanders is the Director of Social Outreach for Learn2Earn. She grew up reading books like The Giver and Holes, and is passionate about making reading as exciting for young kids today as it has always been for her. Follow Learn2Earn on Twitter and Facebook, and send content inquiries to social@learn2earn.org.

36 Awesome Test Prep Review Ideas!

It's time to review what you've been working on all year long for those oh-so-important standardized tests. But don't despair, test review doesn't have to be dull. There are plenty of ways to make it fun! Here are 36 of them:
  1. Use QR Codes. Find out how from Stephanie at Math Teacher Time Out.

  2. Ask the whole class or a small group a question (or display with document camera). Have students answer on individual white boards. Say, "1...2...3...Show!" to have all students show their answers at once for quick assessment.

  3. Have students quiz each other in pairs with task cards, flash cards or other test prep questions. 

  4. Surprise your students by hiding question cards under a few of their seats. Announce, "Hot Seat" at some point during the day. Students with questions are challenged to answer (possibly with help from classmates. Find out more about Hot Seat from Caitlin at Kindergarten Smiles.

  5. Play Quiz, Quiz, Trade

  6. Outside: Allow students to write answers in chalk on the pavement.

  7. Make a test prep PowerPoint. Use individually or with the whole class. It doesn't have to be fancy, but a little animation will make it fun!

  8. Don't forget those Interactive Notebooks you've been working on all year. Partner review will keep them accountable. 

  9. Use the Plickers App to make test review fun and easy. Find out how here

  10. Have students create test problems and quiz each other. Or use a question from each student to make a mock test for the whole class.

  11. Try this fun and free Fact Swap game with your whole class.

  12. Split class into two or three teams. Teams get a point for correct answers. Add a fun extra point by allowing the student who answered correctly to try to make a basket with a foam ball. 

  13. Play Bingo with review questions.

  14. Use exit tickets. Find out how from Cassie at Create-Abilities.  

  15. Hide question cards around the room. Students hunt with an answer sheet, answering as they go.

  16. Try this fun game using sticky notes from Alyssa at Teaching in the Fast Lane. 

  17. Set up a review quiz in the form of a pub quiz, with teams of 2-4 students. 

  18. Review Jeopardy style and give the answers, requiring students to answer in the form of a question. 

  19. Use an online crossword puzzle program to make crosswords puzzles for review. 

  20. For challenging or monotonous subjects, allow students to earn Brain Breaks after a given number of correct answers. 

  21. Play Scoot or go on a Gallery Walk (put the cards on the wall). Or go outside and put questions all over the playground. 

  22. Use a Board Game such as Checkers, Trouble, Battleship, or Connect 4. Students must answer a question card before taking their turns.

  23. Put review questions on Jenga blocks. 

  24. Test prep stations: Different skill at each station, rotate them through in groups. Lisa at Fourth and Ten has an awesome post on how to set up test prep stations

  25. Play Circle Up! Put kids in two circles of equal number, one inside the other. Inside circle faces the outside circle. Each student has a question card. Students each quiz the student across from them. Then inside circle moves one to the right. Repeat. There are fun variations. Find out more with this freebie from Literary Sherri.

  26. Play I Have, Who Has with your class. 

  27. Review those anchor charts.

  28. Have students make their own mini anchor charts for key concepts.

  29. Play Around the World. One student stands behind the seat of another student. Teacher asks a question. The first to answer moves to the next student. If the standing student loses the round, he takes the other student's seat. The idea is to go "Around the World." Good for flash cards. 

  30. Try one of these review games from SquareHead Teachers.

  31. Try this free Buddy Test Prep game from Laura Candler.

  32. Allow students to write their name on tickets for every correct answer and have a raffle for a few small prizes after each review session.

  33. Put review questions in quirky places: on the back of bathroom passes and bathroom stall doors, on the wall where students line up. On the wall behind the drinking fountain or sink, etc. 

  34. Squeeze test prep into odd moments: walking in line, waiting for a specialist, just before school lets out, whenever you have a few spare minutes.

  35. Have student pairs review on a "Walkabout." Students review while walking together.

  36. Allow students to write answers in shaving cream on their desks.
Have you used any of these? How did it go? Share your favorite test prep idea with a comment.
Looking for task cards for review? Here are a bunch!

Teaching Resources

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