The Vernal Equinox has just passed, the baseball season is beginning, it's staying lighter later and starting (slowly) to get warmer! That can mean only one thing - it's time to turn our calendars to Testober. I have recently started calling April "Testober" because it seems like my students are taking one standardized test or another two or three times a week for the entire month! Talk about student burnout. So, how can we keep our students engaged and excited to learn throughout another wonderful testing season?
I like to integrate as many games or competitions into my lessons as possible throughout the month, especially when I sense that students are getting stressed out by testing. Here are three great games you can easily integrate into your lessons very little prep:
1) Variations of Silent Ball. We play games like "Review Ball" or "Vocab Ball" or "Map Ball" that use the same rules as silent ball (no talking, pass a ball around), except that every so often I say "Review!" or "Vocab!" or "Map!" and ask the ball holder a question. If they get it correct, they stay in. If they get it wrong, they sit down.
2) Map Races. I either have two students come to the board and race to find a map location first (winner stays in, loser gets replaced), or I point to a location and in groups, students write the name of the location or physical feature on small white boards.
3) Vocabo or other games using vocabulary cards (click here for free games that use vocabulary cards). I usually use these games as part of a scheduled "vocabulary day", but during the testing season, I have packets of our old cards ready to get out and play with. It re-enforces vocabulary in a fun way that gets the students more focused on the games than the fact that they are actually reviewing.
I'm an 18 year veteran teacher that loves teaching, coaching, writing, and my family.