After searching for examples, I have them use Google Classroom and Google Docs to write ten sentences of their own. Since beginning this routine about three months ago, I have seen their grammar knowledge skyrocket! As they are writing, my classroom assistant and I roam the room and help them correct any errors. I can also "spy" on them using Google Classroom to help them make changes, offer advice, or give compliments. I have noticed MAJOR lightbulb moments when they are required to write their own sentences with correct commas, quotation marks, or apostrophes.
Every year, it seems like my kids struggle to with multiple choice grammar questions. You know the kind I'm talking about---"Choose the sentence that is not written correctly." Your kids panic! Suddenly, all of the sentences look wrong! It had seemed that my kids didn't always have the knowledge to choose an answer with confidence. This year, when we practice the same types of questions, my kids seem bored with this seemingly obvious skill.
Each Wednesday, my students are given two open-ended questions about their Guided Reading book. At the beginning of the year, their answers were embarrassing. I'm not even kidding. They were horrible, but they were honestly giving it their best. Through working in small groups and guided practice, my kids can write the answer to an open-ended question, while supporting their claims with evidence from the text, with ease. It really allowed my students to enter the testing season with a sense confidence. After all, they do this on a weekly basis!
Usually, I really stress over my students' ability to organize and answer word problems. Because of this routine, I'm honestly not worried. Testing will either confirm my reason to be confident or make me look like a total loser! Only time will tell. At this point of the school year though, nearly all of my students tackle the word problem of the day independently and correctly.
Problem of the Day
I have an entire blog post about this routine, plus I've included data to support the routine. During test prep time, I NEVER spent time on computation. We focus on more difficult things like finding the area of a trapezoid and the complex vocabulary of ordered pairs (because the words horizontal and vertical are hard!).
What routines do you have that help ease the stress of test prep?