It’s the not-so-favorite time of year - state testing. And while students may agonize and teachers may groan at the thought of another year of standardized testing in the midst of whatever this new normal is, it’s up to us to prepare our students the best we can. Here are six ideas to help you prep for the test prep season. 1. Get organized This applies to you as well as your students. Think about your game plan. What are you going to accomplish? “Prep for state testing” is too broad a statement. Think about specific tasks, specific knowledge your students need. Think about how you’ll organize your students and how much time you will need. Don’t add more stress to the situation by going in at the last minute with packets you found on the internet but didn’t have time to vet. Be methodical in what you plan. If you’ve waited until the final hour, focus on one or two main test prep areas: writing with evidence or focusing on listening skills. 2. Try something fun Students don’t need endl...
When it comes to reading nonfiction, my students tend to get bleary-eyed and hard-of-hearing. It’s like they instantly think of their history textbooks and informational articles and they decide before they even know the topic that they aren’t going to like it. For many students, nonfiction is like the vegetable of literature, but it doesn’t have to be this way. This is why I work hard to make sure I have a variety of activities to engage my students. Read about some of my favorites below. 1. Fact vs Opinion This super easy activity simply involves you presenting the topic of study and having students create a class list of information. Students share what they know (or think) they know about the subject. You can then assign a pre-reading activity separating fact from fiction, or have students revisit the list after reading. 2. Learn to Annotate Annotating is such an important skill because your students learn to engage with the text. It also has shown to improve retention, and helps i...
Today’s students have the world’s knowledge at their fingertips. Everything about anything they could ever possibly what to know is just a click, swipe, or tap away; and yet, it seems as if so many students are disconnected from worldly issues. When we have students who are #smh at non-issues (like who is dating whom and who is wearing what) and declaring #fml when they encounter the smallest, ever-so-minute first-world issues, we as educators are faced with a monumental task: helping our students become more aware of the world around them. To do this, I look to outside reading sources. After reading articles about some of the very real hardships that others around the world deal with on a daily basis, I notice that my students complain a little less about not having the newest something or other. With the implementation of common core, many secondary teachers are including more nonfiction text into their curriculum. Finding authentic, engaging nonfiction text that actuall...