February 18, 2013

Shaking Up Test Review

Hi friends--it's been awhile!  I've been trying to let go of technology and unchain myself from my computer a little bit more these days, spending more time with books instead...that, and things have been crazy busy.  But what else is new!  I took a break from blogging for awhile because I just didn't have many ideas for posts, and I feel like no one cares to read my mindless ramblings when I have nothing to say!  But in the past few weeks I've finally had some ideas for a few posts, mostly classroom related things.  Today's is just a quick one!

I don't know about you, but I struggle with how to make review for math tests effective and meaningful for the majority of my class.  It feels like for most tests there are a handful of students who would benefit from some serious review and reteaching, and the rest of the class just needs a bit of practice.  In the past, I'd spend a full class period reviewing a ton of concepts, but we all know that's not exactly best practice.  One of my favorite strategies is to do a guided math format (I run guided math most days) and have the kids not working in my group complete a Math Scavenger Hunt.  Sound complicated?  It's actually the opposite.

I write up between 8 and 10 math problems like the kind that will be on our test on individual index cards and tape them up in "hiding places" around the room--on cabinets, bookshelves, the sides of desks, etc.  Then, I have my students travel the room with their math notebooks and their "Brain Buddy" (aka math partner), find all of the review problems, and answer them in their notebook.
In the mean time, I pull groups of students for guided group review.  I start with the neediest kiddos, then at the end pull bigger groups of kids who have finished the review to correct their answers and reteach as necessary.  My kids are well-trained in how to work quietly and efficiently with their partners, and of course I clearly set my expectations before we start.  The best parts of the scavenger hunt are that not only are the kids completing test practice problems, but they are actively moving around, engaged, and it takes next to no prep on my part--no copies, just writing up some problems and taping them around the room.  AND I am able to work really closely with the kids who NEED me!  So much better than a worksheet.
In other news, I'm heading off to Florida on Friday morning to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon with my sister in law and a dew of her friends.  This will be her FIRST half, and I couldn't be more excited for her!  Disney Princess was my first half a few years ago, and in spite of some injuries, it truly was magical. :)  I can't wait!

How do you make test review fun?

What have you been up to lately???  I've missed you guys since I dropped off the blogosphere planet...hopefully someone still reads this!! :)


  1. What a fun way to review the content! Totally going to do this. I do a lot of different games and activities but haven't heard of this!

  2. We have to review on for a math test on Thursday. I already have the study guide made. I am so going to recopy the problems on index cards and tape them around the room. My kids will LOVE this. I have a strategy I use to shake up review. I actually turn the study guide into a paper "video game" with the problems divided into sections we call levels. The kids race to "defeat" each level and "finish" the game. it's just a kitchy gimmick, but the kids really like it. You can read about the strategy at http://new-in-room-202.blogspot.com/2012/11/pop-culture-in-classroom.html. Thanks for sharing. ~Stacy @ new-in-room-202.blogspot.com

  3. Have fun at Disney! I always wanted to run that half....maybe someday...

  4. What a fun way to review! I am going to keep that in mind as I am getting closer to the NYS math test in April.

  5. I'm running the princess half this coming weekend as well! It'll be my first and I'm equal parts terrified and excited.

    As an aspiring teacher (I'm currently working on my Master's and getting certified to teach secondary math) and a newbie runner, I LOVE your blog!

    Good luck on the race! Have fun!

  6. Good luck this weekend!
    Isn't it nice to take a break from technology sometimes? I sit at a computer for most of the days and then sometimes will come home and sit with my computer with the tv on all night. I've been making an effort to do other things with my time after work and it seems to help.


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