We struggle to get through all of the material we need to cover, even though most of the students sitting in our classrooms come to us way below grade level. We differentiate their learning, we spend oodles of time finding curriculum to enhance (or even replace) the school's curriculum, we explain and practice and re-teach, we love up on our students because, quite honestly, we might be the only ones that love up on them and then we face those unrealistic, unfair standardized tests that could make or break our careers. Are you feeling me???
So, what do we do? Look at the data, try to figure out what "little" things we can do, and we just keep trucking. I know in my district, vocabulary is one of our main problems. We have a huge ELL population and these students just don't have the prior knowledge and vocabulary skills needed to "understand" the test questions. Vocabulary is difficult to teach. Showing students a word and a definition and asking them to memorize it just isn't effective. They need to "see" the word. They need to understand it in context and they need to interact with it. Our textbooks do an okay job with that, but it just isn't enough.
Word walls are a strategy that seems to be very effective, but they are also very time consuming if you want to do it right and not just plaster words on a wall! I created these vocabulary posters to help in classrooms, and they are the Common Core vocabulary words, so you know they will appear on those tests in a few weeks! You might find them very useful in your review sessions and can help you year after year!
|4th Grade Posters|
|5th Grade Posters|
Right now I only have them for 4th and 5th grade, but I will be working to get the other grades, too!
These are not THE solution, but you will definitely find them useful.
I'm curious to hear some of the things that you find successful when getting ready for the end of the year tests?