Mathlympics & Litlympics!
An Exciting Way to Review for Standardized Tests
Looking for a fun way to review for standardized tests? This idea can spread across all grades and subject areas, but I will explain explicitly how to do this with second graders. This strategy is FUN, exciting and my kiddos were BEGGING me for more when it was over.
How To Set Up
You really only need a few things to set up your review game.
First, you’ll need to determine how many events/sets of questions that you’ll want in your review. For math, I usually do 8, and do one multiple choice page of questions from each unit we have covered. I then print 2 of each question set and laminate them (so I can use them year after year).
Next, you should decide whether or not you’ll have prizes. You can have prizes for every event, prizes for finishers, or no prizes at all.
Then, you should set up some kinds of stretch breaks/fitness activities in between so students can get up moving and grooving.
Finally, decide whether your students will be working in partners, groups or individually. I write their names on post-it notes that they can move from event to event.
How To Implement
When it is time to start, go over the rules with your class super carefully. Be very upfront about how you are going to score each sheet. In my class, there are 10 questions on each page, and I allow students to move to the next event ONLY when they get 8 or more questions right. If they miss more, I make them go back and re-do it. Also, for scoring purposes, I only total their number correct the FIRST time they try. So, the first time they bring me their paper, I will grade it in green. If they have to go fix things, the second time, I will grade it in blue. This way, I will add the green totals up for their final score, even if they got more right the second time. This encourages students to slow down and take their time.
I have students self-select and self-pace through the events. I allow students to select any pages in any order, and they move their post-it note around the board so that I can visually see where students are, and so students can see who is in the lead. Students bring me their paper when they finish, and I grade it. If you have a class that is great at self-assessment, then you can allow your students to self-grade and fix their mistakes. This is why I find it easiest to use multiple choice questions, as it is really fast for you to grade student work and this is typically the format of standardized tests.
I usually give students small prizes throughout the meet, which I tape up to the event so students know what they are working for. If students are rushing, then I will say in order to get the prize, they need to get 8 or more correct the first or second try, and otherwise, they have to keep working, but will not get a prize. A great way to get prizes is to ask a few parents to send in a bag or two of candy or small trinkets that come in large amounts.
How To Score
Like I said above, when I grade, I change colors each time. The first time I’ll grade in green, then blue, then purple. When a student finishes, we put their name on “gold” (or whatever is first place) with their score written above. Then, as another student finishes, if they score above the first student, the first student gets moved to silver and the new student is in gold, with their score above until someone finishes with a lower or higher score, and then students move. The reason I do this, is to motivate students to do well the FIRST time, and not rushing through.
When most students are finished, I will finish the project. We will then do a closing ceremony, and I will give awards to the top finishers, as well as ANY student that finished.
When you are finished, I like to look over the score sheets and find common errors throughout my entire class. We will then review these together. Usually, there are one-two items on each sheet that most students struggled with, and then I like to pick one whole strand to review.
If you are interested in my Second Grade Mathlympics pack, you can snag that here. I have a Litlympics pack coming to you soon. If you are interested in implementing the Mathlympics or Litlympics but teach a different grade level, you can use these generic posters and add in your own multiple choice questions. This engaging pack can be used with ANY subject that you need to review, but you may have to supplement your own materials when necessary.
Hopefully you found what you were looking for in this blog post! If you have any of your own successes with this topic, please feel free to share helpful tips or stories below! Check back each Monday in 2018 for a new post on my blog. Enjoy!