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2 Apr

This is my second year teaching third grade in PA.  So, this is my second year of getting third graders ready to take the PSSA’s.  In my state this is the first time that students are exposed to the state tests.  I want it to be a positive experience for them.  I wanted to share some resources that have helped me make state testing time so worthwhile and also fun for my class.    I want their first memories of this time of year to be pleasant.   My goal for review before tests is to trick them into more learning fun…  This post will share some of the test prep ideas I use the two weeks before testing.

My first year I was terrified that my students’ scores would not be where they should be… but, I learned if you latch on to another teacher that has been there and you teach well throughout the year, all will be fine…  Teaching well through the year means knowing the standards inside and out.  Knowing where the programs you are given to teach with are lacking.  Do not assume all the standards are in the math and reading commercial programs you are given to teach with.   You probably will need to either make resources to match a missing standard or find resources that would work with your students and teach the missing standard.   Also, being aware of what students need extra help mastering standards after they have been taught the standard.  Knowing who is lacking what learning helps you be able to pull those students in small groups for reteaching!  Then comes the two weeks before the test when hopefully you have taught all the math and reading standards well and you can review in a fun way with your students.  Also, you can use those two weeks to pull small groups to reteach standards to certain kids.

Pump students up about the testing with some sort of song or top ten list about the actual testing time.  My team of third grade teachers created a top ten list for the PSSA’s and then I created a PowerPoint I share with my class before we start reviewing.

Click for Top Ten PowerPoint  Yes, I do buy a small edible treat for after each test.  This requires getting parent permission.  They look so forward to this small treat!  This year we have five days of testing.  I am sharing pudding cups, Swedish Fish, Fruit Roll-Ups, Rice Krispy Treats, and Fruit Snacks.

Ok, reviewing can be so boring and I always fear burnout before we even test.  So when I review I do many center rotations that get kids moving around the room.  I use the data I collected through the year to see what topics need to be reviewed the most and then I create centers that match those topics.  I either create my own or I spend way too much on TPT resources.
I run four centers for each subject and I rotate them through the four centers. For example, most recently in Math my centers looked like this….

1.) Elapsed Time (task cards I tape in the hall and  I check while they work),

2.) at your seat workbook (we have a workbook that is practice test questions that I pick certain pages for them to work through.  I have the answer key with me so I can watch them choose answers and then correct them as they make mistakes)

3.)  Computer – Podigy (CLICK HERE – FREE and LOVE it) and First In Math

4.) Finish Up Center 1 or 2

The paper pencil centers  I check  as they finish and keep their center sheets so that I can pull kids to work on certain topics they are having trouble with.  To keep this challenging and fun, I will often run a ticket reward during the centers.  If they miss four or less, they get to put a ticket in my jar.  At the end of the centers I draw a ticket and that person gets lunch with the teacher.  It keeps them working hard.

This center time  is not a time to sit at your desk… you should be constantly checking students’ work and pulling students as needed for review.

See the end of this post for a few of my favorite third grade review task cards on TPT.

Just fun – Since most testing happens during Easter Egg time, create an egg hunt with ELA or Math questions in the eggs.  Number the eggs and create a recording sheet.  I place a small eraser in the eggs too.  The first person to find that egg gets to keep the eraser.  At the end of the egg hunt I make sure everyone got at least one eraser.  Standardized Testing Review Game Printables – Click Here!

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Now, for whole group review….  I split my students into four teams (teams have high, average, and low students to keep it fair).  I move my desks into teams so they can work together when needed.  The teams pick names and create a cheer to match their team name.   Below is the scoreboard for the review.  As we play class games, they get points.  At the end of the given time period the teams with the most points wins a lunch party with the teacher.  I do a couple of lunch parties after testing.  They love this award.

I use the score board however I like.  I often will have them read PSSA passages (using old tests from the PSSA website) together and answer questions together.  If they answer all the questions right their team earns five points.  If they miss a question their team earns 2 points.  You can make up points for different things as you go.

Two of my favorite whole class review games are ZAP and Stinky Feet.  I like these because I can play them with any type of review I create or use.    I have a few PowerPoints I created that I use to review concepts my students need more practice with.  I also use it with task cards for the group.   I can use it with any type of review.  Plus, I can also use them with the scoreboard I created.

Here is my ZAP Board that I created.


The cards in the envelopes have point values.  If you get ZAP, you loose all your points.  Don’t get ZAP!  Click  the link for the free printables to make your own!   I purchased the envelopes on Amazon.   Click to see them on Amazon! 

Standardized Testing Review Game Printables – Click Here!

The Stinky Feet Idea I saw on Pinterest and I put things under the sticky notes like… do five jumping jacks, take three points away from another team, add 2 points to your team’s score, run in place and count to ten backwards, do your team cheer, plug your nose and yell stinky feet….   They pick a note after they answer a question for their team.  If they get the word STINKY FEET, it really stinks because they wipe out their team’s points.


This is my board that I created.    Standardized Testing Review Game Printables – Click Here!

So, those are a few of the ways I try to make testing review fun!!!!   Hopefully this post helped you think of a few ideas on your own.

For my  resources on TPT, click here!  

My favorite Task Cards on TPT for Review of Third Grade!!!   Just giving credit where credit is due!!!


Summary Task Cards

Main Idea Task Cards

Spring ELA Centers


Great Third Grade Fraction Task Cards by Emily!

Multiplication and Division Task Cards by Emily!

Math Egg Hunt Task Cards 

Math State Test Task Cards

Spring Test Prep Task Cards

Have to give one more shout out to the AM work I use all year…  It is the best!!!

Third Grade Morning Work by Danie DEE

For my  resources on TPT, click here!