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We took our state assessments at the end of February and beginning of March, but I have received several questions about how I use task cards to prepare for state testing... and it just so happens that we did use them, and we had a blast! We did test prep stations with task cards for about a week in both math and reading. The centers were differentiated and they focused on common core strands as well as our former state standards that are still being tested this year and next (even if they aren't a Common Core Standard).
This year I have done several "Passports" for students when we are doing centers, and we stuck with that theme for test prep. They had a Reading Passport to Success and a Math Passport to Success.
Each group of students got different passports based on what I knew they needed to review, especially in reading. I had some kids working on higher level Inferential Vs. Literal Comprehension Questions, and some were working on Story Elements. I used my fabulous Target Dollar Spot buckets and had a big row of buckets all along our back counter (which I didn't get a picture of... oops)! The kids worked their way through the buckets based on what assignment/skill was on their passports. In each bucket, they found a variety of different task cards to use to practice the skill. When they finished working their way through a bucket, they would come find me, I would stamp their passport, and then they would check their answers using the answer keys. The kids LOVED getting their stamps!
|Reading Task Cards for Test Prep|
|Here is an example of one group's Math Passport. Keep reading to download an editable version for yourself!|
|Math Task Cards for Test Prep|
There is SO much to cover in math that I didn't use complete sets of cards, but pulled 10-15 from different standards. You can see here that for Geometry, they worked on Angles task cards, Perimeter & Area Task Cards, and Geometry/Shape Task Cards all in one bucket.
As far as time, I considered giving them a set amount of time at each station, but then I realized that wasn't the most logical idea--if they needed extra reinforcement on a topic, giving them ten minutes to work on it then forcing them to leave it behind wouldn't be the best practice. So we spent a week of our literacy and math block devoted to completing our cards, and they worked at their own pace.
While the students were working on cards, I had identified areas that I wanted to be sure to hit home and use some of the down and dirty test prep materials with in small groups. You know the drill-- released items, test prep pages, all of those things that you just HAVE to use so that kids are used to the format of the test. So, as the students were independently working on their buckets, I saw 3-5 small groups each day, practicing some essential test prep material. It was lovely!
Now, there were a few sets of cards that I had ALL of my students do, regardless of where they stood academically. All of them worked on Inference (the inference task cards are differentiated so some groups were doing different cards), Sequencing, and Context Clues task cards in Reading. In math, they all had to do the Data & Graphing Task Cards, What's My Operation? Task Cards, and Elapsed Time task cards. These are skills that always seem to be heavily tested and most often taken for granted as having mastered.
Don't Have Time for A Week Long Study Session?
If you don't have time to devote an entire week to review, I highly recommend a set of reading review cards. I make monthly reading and math skills task cards for my students to use in a variety of situations (morning work, morning meeting, early finishers, quick assessments, homework, etc.), and if you don't have a lot of time, they are a great way to hit the skills fast and furious. I'm finishing up my April cards now (did you know that April is one of the less interesting months historically?), but you can still use the March cards, too!
Download an editable version of the Reading Passport Here and the Math Passport Here. Nothing fancy or special, but it did the trick! (Funny story: My kids were so disappointed that there was no "fancy border thing" around the passport. They have been spoiled!)
Must Have Test Prep Task Cards