ELA Test Prep Show & Tell


Try one of these 4 ideas for Middle School Reading Test Prep!  #ELA #Tips



At my school, the third quarter is winding down and after Spring Break, it will be "testing season".

So this post is all about my approach to test prep!



First, I will start with reviewing the basic reading skills of:
compare/contrast
cause/effect
author's purpose
main idea
inference
text features

Try one of these 4 ideas for Middle School Reading Test Prep! #ELA #TipsTry this or one of the other 3 ideas for Middle School Reading Test Prep! #ELA #Tips  
Pixanotes are a blend of traditional and visual notes!  (They come in 4 versions so you can reach all learners!)

This is how we used them:

First, students used the included word bank and partner to fill in the blanks.

Next, students matched up the pictures with the correct definitions.  This gives the students some practice with the definitions as they must ponder them as they decide where the pictures belong.

Then, I had students write questions under the flaps that could be answered with the text to the right.  This allows for a more full Cornell notes type experience.  

Now students were ready to practice with the definitions.  One fun way to do this is with a rousing game of ZAP!  My students love competition!





After my students have a frame of reference with the Pixanotes, then I look for creative ways to practice the skills.  This year, I am trying something new by using the picture book Miss Rumphius and a choice board/menu.  






Next, I will read them this e-book and go through the activities:



The idea behind the e-book is to help students understand that our big state test is like a championship.  Do athletes complain when they have to go to the championship?  No, of course not!  They're excited to show that they are the best!  So it should be the same with our state test.  It's a chance for students to proudly show what they know!

You can get this e-book for free when you sign up for my newsletter!


Lastly, it will be important for us to review the steps for successful test-taking.  I will be using this flipbook that I made:




This flipbook takes students through a step-by-step plan to use when reading the texts and answering the questions on a standardized test.  Since each step comes with an example to cut and glue onto the appropriate tab, this makes the steps that seem so abstract much more concrete for our students with learning challenges.  

I also have another flipbook for overall test taking skills and strategies:



I hope this gives you some ideas for how you might change up your ELA test prep this year!  

Thanks for stopping by!


Springing into Learning with a Great Picture Book!


Help Middle School struggling readers understand key concepts of reading using picture books!  #teaching #reading


My fun new idea begins with a picture book.  In Middle School you ask?  Yes, most definitely!

My Middle School students still love picture books.  Not only do the students enjoy being read to but picture books make more complex topics and concepts easier to digest.

Since we have to prepare for our state reading test, I thought of a kinder, gentler way to accomplish this with this picture book:


Find out how I use this picture book to use to review main idea, cause and effect, compare and contrast & more!  #teaching #middleschool #languagearts #strugglingreaders



Picture books can help struggling readers in Middle School!  #teaching #languagearts


I will probably show the students this video of the book first:




After we have watched the video, then we will read the book.  Afterward, we will examine the book for main idea, cause and effect, and compare and contrast - at least!    This gives me a chance to review the kinds of questions they'll see on the state test but in an easy to understand sort of way.


Then, my students will practice their learning with these three reading skills with a choice board / menu:

Choice boards and Menus help differentiate the instruction for struggling readers!  #teaching #middleschool #languagearts

This choice board is great for differentiation, too!  I can assign students smaller or larger assignments as well as ensure that students can complete assignments that suit them best.


Plus now the students will have a frame of reference when they try to tackle bigger texts.  I can hear myself already... "Remember when we read Miss Rumphius and we compared and contrasted ourselves with Miss Rumphius?  Now we're going to do that with these new characters."


Then lastly, as part of our study, we simply must plant lupine seeds!  This is the quintessential spring activity, right?  My students will love it!


If you'd like to view the complete unit with all the templates for the interactive notebook foldables and drawing activities that you see in the choice board/menu, please click {here}.

Thanks for stopping by!

St. Patrick's Day Luck for Middle Schoolers!


So happy to join up for the monthly "Pick 3" linky with Pawsitively Teaching, Just Reed, and Inspired Owls' Corner!

This month, I am focusing on bringing a little luck 'o the Irish into my Middle School classes!






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This pin leads to a nice list of facts about St. Patrick's Day.  I like this because it helps to dispel the myths and "set the record straight."  In Middle School, my students are always searching for the truth.  It might be fun to play "2 truths and a lie" with these facts!



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This pin actually leads to THREE printables.  I thought they might be nice to hang up in the classroom for more "mature" decorations.  Plus, I can see these becoming part of a lesson on luck - as in "What makes someone lucky?"  

Maybe this question would be a nice lead-in for a read-aloud using one of the books from below:




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I love a good read aloud in middle school and the students love them too!  It's always fun to read a good story and picture books make some great anchors for practicing all kinds of reading skills!