The goal for test prep and review is to refresh student memories and reteach missed concepts in a fun way before a test. Room transformations, boot camps, and lock-in’s are great ways to get students excited about reviews. I have collected my top favorite review activities here to help you get ideas and easily make this happen for your students.
My Top 5 STAAR Review Activities:
1. STAAR Review Stations
I have created a set of 15 review stations that I love to use when reviewing for the Science STAAR. I like to take every Friday starting two months before the STAAR test and make them Science Fun Review Fridays. I rotate through two stations per group each Friday. By the time we get to the STAAR test, each student has seen all parts of the review. I have also used these stations as a boot camp style review week. However they get used, the STAAR stations help the kiddos review concepts that will be on the test. These stations are updated for the new streamlined TEKS. Swipe through the images below to see more.
2. Drawing Science Diagrams by Memory
I started this activity to help the accommodated test takers because they could use unlabeled diagrams on the test. I had a class activity in which I would call out a diagram and each student had to draw it from memory. It was a fun game we even played with dry erase boards and dry erase markers on desks. It ended up helping the entire class, not just the accommodated test takers! And the kids loved to play it. For your accommodated test takers, you can have a set of these diagrams printed and laminated for them to use dry erase markers and fill in blanks during the quick draw games. Click the image below to grab the complete set of digrams!
3. Balloon Pop Relay
The kids love this active game! I cut out 100 multiple choice released STAAR test questions and put each one in a balloon. The one hundred question balloons should last through three classes. The balloons are placed at one end of the gym and the students line up at the other. They will take turns in line running down to pop a balloon and answer the question inside. The student reads the question out loud to the “answer checker” ( I like to have one answer checker per line, but you can stand at the end and whoever gets there first can read their question first). They can go back to the next runner in line by answering correctly. If they are incorrect, I just let them keep giving answers until they have the right one. Then, when they get it correct they can read the question and answer all together correctly to run back to their relay line. I usually print a numbered master set of questions with answers for quick reference. This is also a great way for the P.E. teacher to help the kiddos get ready for the STAAR test. I always prepare the balloons for them- its a little bit of work. You can use my STAAR-like unit tests for test prep questions!
4. Escape Challenge Reviews
My Escape Challenge Reviews are easy to use and ready to go! Just set up the power point show on the device(s) that you want to use for the escape challenge, and let students begin! These PowerPoints can be opened in Google Slides. Each test prep escape challenge has six critical thinking challenges to prep your students for the big test. Each challenge is written similar to released test questions so your students will have practice thinking through challenging questions. They are set up in fun ways to make them feel like they are playing an escape game. This can be played in groups, individually, or as a class. A paper version is provided in case you want to set it up as rotations around the room. The paper version is great for use as task cards, centers, or stations. The big challenge in this escape game is to escape the classroom with Wonderkid, your classroom super hero. This is an engaging way to prep your class for the 5th Grade Science STAAR test!
5. Test Prep Boot Camp Review
A boot camp is a fun way to review students before the big test and make it fun for them. Putting together some sort of big event to get kids pumped up with an extra review that feels like a party makes the test prep season more bearable for you and your students. Boot camps can be done in your individual classroom, or as a grade level team. A grade level team example is to take the week before each test and turn all of your departmentalized classrooms into boot camp rotations for the entire grade level. Worked as a team and help each other test prep. Trade off with the other teachers to make this happen for all subjects: Reading, Math, and Science. Teachers can wear camo and whatever other “boot camp” style gear you can find. Encourage kids to wear camo as well. Boot camp rotations within your own classroom can benefit the students just as much! I want you to have the fun stuff you need to really add spirit to your boot camp event, so here is a Test Prep Boot Camp Gear Freebie to get you going! Both the 5th Grade Science Review Stations and the Illustrated Note Pages make great activities for a boot camp review. You can take all of the resources listed on this page and have each teacher in your grade level pick one to do each day in their room as students rotate.
More Test Prep Resources
Test Prep DIGITAL Review Kits
These Digital Review Kits make a great review, test prep, tutoring, reteach, or small group tool. Being digital and printable makes these work for in-class and distance learning. In the Read About section of each standard, an informational text with key terms is provided to reteach and/or refresh student knowledge on the topic. They will then use their knowledge from the reading to define the three key terms and write a summary in the Write About section. To connect the information to the world around them, they will complete the Science in the Real World scavenger hunt. This will give them hands on experience with the concept and make memorable connections for them. A set of vocabulary flash cards is provided for each section to verify the definitions for each key word as well as work as a review tool.
TEKS Review Activity Pages
I have created a note-taking activity page for every standard covered on the STAAR test. These are illustrated note pages that cover each of the standards in the 5th Grade Science Test Reporting Categories. The visuals will help student commit concepts to memory. Doodles with notes helps your visual learners and can help make concepts click for students. These are great for tutoring groups and can be added into review stations.
St. Patrick’s Day Science and Literacy Holiday Learning and Review Set
This St. Patrick’s Day Holiday Review Set is a great way to have fun on St. Paddy’s Day and learn science! The learning part covers the properties of light and rainbows. The review part has a printable board game students can play in pairs or groups with test prep review cards. Although this is holiday themed, it works well for any time through the Spring season. Swipe through to see more about the activities included.
Unit Test Reviews
Unit Test reviews are just as important throughout the year. The goal is not to memorize for the test, but to refresh their memory and help make those memories permanent.
Here are some ideas for unit test reviews:
Quick writes: Ask the students a higher level question, and have them write a paragraph or half a page fully explaining their response. Give them a shorter amount of time to get this writing completed such as 10 minutes. You will have a good idea of who “gets it” and who doesn’t.
Test Review Baseball: Using a pool noodle as a bat and a balloon as a baseball, pitch the ball to each student. At each base they must answer a review question correctly to advance to the next base. Four correct answers will earn them a home run. Keep score per student, or in two teams. Students need to pay attention to each question you ask other players because they might get that same question when they are up!
Jeopardy: You can draw a jeopardy board on the whiteboard or in PowerPoint. Ask the students questions in teams, and correct answers will earn the money amount written for that question.
White board review: Have students answer questions using white boards. This allows the whole class to participate each time. I would have them write their answer and turn it over on their desk. When you say “show me”, then they can put their board up. I have also made this game a race to see who can get their answer board shown to me first. Either way is exciting. Whiteboards are a great way to review any diagrams or cycles you have studied!
Test Prep Resources from Elementary Ali