As much as we hate to think about testing, it is just around the corner. As teachers, we all know that our job is to get students college and career-ready, not test-ready. But as we approach spring, we know that it is also important for our students to be ready for the next grade level. So, this means looking through our standards to assess which skills our students haven’t mastered yet. Test prep many times means scrambling to find materials to cover all the standards.
Luckily, if you already own my standards-based ELA units, you know they cover every single ELA standard that students need to master for each grade level. So, today, I am going talk about how you can use the ELA units you already have to make sure students are ready to tackle the next grade level (and that end-of-year test). So, here are 4 simple steps to test prep.
1. Look Through Your Standards Checklists
The first step to test prep is looking at what your students have already mastered. I want you to pull out your standards checklists; whatever you use to keep track of which standards and skills you’ve already taught. Go through your list and mark any standards and skills that you know your students have mastered. Then *star* any standards that you’d like to reteach or offer additional practice with. You may want to provide practice with all of your skills, it’s up to you!
2. Pull Materials for Standards that Need Reteaching
Next, you will gather materials for chosen standards. If you store your materials digitally, simply open each unit and print the pages you’d like to use. Or, if you store your units in binders or folders, pull those out and do the same.
As far as “test prep” goes, I like to offer students additional practice with the skills they haven’t mastered. They may need to practice identifying themes or using text features. So, you want to think in terms of skill practice activities.
To start, I would pull the following materials:
- RL: 1 Printable (or Digital) Comprehension Passage for each RL Unit
- RI: 1 Printable (or Digital) Comprehension Passage for each RI Unit
- L: 1 Printable (or Digital) Worksheet for each Language Unit
You can also pull from Writing, SL & RF Units if you’d like! But, you are likely already including these practices within your centers & small groups as ongoing skill practice. Recommendations if you’d like to:
- W: 1 Printable (or Digital) Writing Prompt & Rubric for each Writing Unit
- SL: 1 Printable (or Digital) SL Center & Self-Assessment Exit Slip from SL Unit
- RF: 1 Printable (or Digital) Graphic Organizer for each RF Unit
3. Add Skill-Specific Test Prep Activities
Now, it’s time to add the activities to your days without interrupting your regular instruction. Try to find ways to “replace” activities instead of adding to your load.
Here are some of my favorite ways to “replace” content:
- Morning Work-
- Replace morning work with a comprehension passage twice a week.
- Independent Reading Time-
- Replace independent reading with a comprehension passage once or twice a week.
- Add graphic organizers or interactive notebook pages to students’ independent and partner reading time to be used with their own book choices
- Centers & Rotations-
- Replace one center or rotation with a language worksheet or center activity
- Add task cards to one center or rotation
- Replace a writing activity with one of the writing unit assessments or prompts with a rubric
- Early Finishers-
- Add task cards to your early finisher station
- Include any unfinished comprehension or printable activity to early finishers
4. Test Prep with Anchor Charts
The last step to getting test prep-ready will be anchor charts. I would be sure to display the anchor charts that come in your all-year ELA units (especially for the standards your students still need additional practice with). You can also share these digitally. However, I would make sure they are accessible to students so that if they need any reinforcement, they have it. Teachers have used these anchor charts in several different ways to ensure students have access to them. I will list some of my favorite ways below:
- Make Anchor Chart Rings–
- Print anchor charts 2 per page.
- Cut & Laminate them.
- Hole punch in the corner & connect with binder rings.
- Can make several “sets” and hang them near the library, along the bottom of a bulletin board or keep one at each pod of desks.
- Make Digital Anchor Chart Collections-
- Share digital anchor charts each time you’re teaching a skill.
- Be sure to name the digital PNG or PDF with an easily searchable title.
- Students can “search” for their anchor charts within your shared drive or online classroom platform when they need them.
- Can also be shared in the “documents” or “files” section of your online classroom platform or drive. *I would recommend sorting them into Domain Folders- Language, RL, RI, W, SL, & RF
- Display Around the Room-
- Print anchor charts in “poster” size as you teach each skill.
- Laminate & display them on a bulletin board or other accessible location.
- Be sure these are always in the same area so that students know to use them for reinforcement.
- Example: Some teachers have one bulletin board dedicated to current ELA skills. Laminated Posters can be hole-punched twice on the top and two binder rings can connect the posters, building a set as you learn new skills. At any point, you can flip back to previously learned skills to reinforce learning.
Links to Suggested ELA Units
Click below to browse the reading and language units for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade. OR grab the full year bundle that includes all RL, RI, W, RF, L, and SL units!
Units for 2nd Grade:
Units for 3rd Grade:
And 4th Grade:
If you already own the All-Year ELA Bundle, and need to re-download them, simply click the links above!