Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Calm the Standardized Testing Sea!

Ahoy there Mateys! Avast all ye pirates who are about to start the standardized testing mayhem! Are ye crew threatening mutiny? Are ye pirates threatening to make you walk the plank? Landlubbers and pirates alike will settle down when they learn some test-taking strategies.

I'm a huge pirate fan! I love to dress-up and talk like a pirate! A couple of years ago, I created a pirate themed classroom guidance lesson to get students prepared for standardized testing. I dressed up like a pirate, got the kids to sing along with me some testing cheers to the tunes of pirate songs, and shared tips and tricks to do well on the test. Standardized testing can create panic and fear, but your crew can be ready and have some fun too! Recently I updated my questions and created a pirate themed game to get my students onboard for standardized testing. Students navigate 25 questions about testing to collect doubloons for their team.

Directions to play the Pirate Treasure Challenge:
  • Divide the class into two teams
  • Take turns having one player from each team stand on the side of the Smart Board that represents their team
  • Read the question and all answers BEFORE students choose their team's answer
  • Students touch the answer on the side of the board for their team
  • The first team to get the question correct can add a doubloon to their treasure by sliding a coin down to their person
  • Go back to the question or forward to the next question by selecting the question number on the message in a bottle
  • As questions are answered, spend time discussing how this will help your students do well on the test. by playing this Smart Board game reviewing common test taking strategies.

Here is a video of the game. The music was added to the video, it's not on the game.

If you would like your crew to sail through testing on calm seas, you can purchase this Smart Board game, 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Do you know a Mon "STAR" student?

I often hear school counselors say study skills is their least favorite subject to teach because it's boring. I actually love teaching study skills. I get a kick seeing students excited to try new strategies to bring up their grades.
Students aren't exactly thrilled about study skills either. So I try to make it fun and exciting. Giving the lesson a theme and a fun game allows students to learn about their own personal learning style while having fun.
One lesson I created was How to Be a Mon"STAR" Student. We start with taking a Learning Styles Inventory. Students enjoy taking surveys and comparing results.

I have a tips and tricks sheet for each of the learning styles that I give students to take home and share with their parents.

Then we play a matching game. This is a game I created to help students learn study tips for the different learning styles. It's called Monster Mix Up. Break students into groups of 3 or more. Give each group a set of Monster Mix Up cards and a Study Tips Answer Key for the Fact Checker. Have one student assigned as the Fact checker. That student does not participate in matching cards, their job is to use the Study Tips Answer Key to determine if a match has been made. All other students in the group may play to make matches.
Students take turns flipping over two cards (1 monster top & 1 monster bottom) to make a match. A match is made when the Study Tip card can be used for the Learning Style card that is also flipped, then the student collects those two cards to make a silly monster. The game ends when all cards have been matched.

So the kids demonstrate knowledge of study skills for the different learning styles while having fun making silly monsters!

If you would like to purchase this lesson, visit my TPT store here!

You "Mustache Me" about Brag Buttons!

One of my favorite things to do is to brag on my students. I love it when they take initiative and show their leadership. I also love when students figure out a way to solve their problems. To let the students know how proud I am, I have made these brag buttons. I give them to students who have shown they deserve it. To make these brag buttons, I buy the "make your own" plastic buttons at Michael's for $5 (use a coupon and get them cheaper!) and then print and cut the sayings to go inside the button. I love seeing the kids smile when I give them a button, but the most awesome feeling is seeing the student wearing the button days later! I tell the kids to put them on their book bag when they get home so they can remember how proud I am, but sometimes I see them still wearing them on their shirt the next week :) Another option is to print them on cardstock, laminate, punch a hole in them and add a string or lanyard! Or print them on sticker paper and give them a sticker to wear for the day!!!

School Counselor Reward Buttons
If you don't have time to make your own, I sell these on TPT. You can find them here:
School Counselor Brag Buttons Set 1
School Counselor Brag Buttons Set 2
School Counselor Reward Buttons