Hi! My name is Nancy Stoltenberg and I teach 2nd grade in Palmdale, CA. I am so blessed to live in the Antelope Valley right next to the California Poppy Preserve! Every Spring the desert comes alive with color here! Just like the desert, my second grade students put out their beautiful blossoms of growth after all the hard work of the year! They are a sight to behold!!
Testing officially started in my classroom today!! All the practice, review, "dress rehearsals", Super Improvers Post It notes on each student desk for "test strategy stars" came together for THE BEST State Testing Day I have ever experienced in my many years of teaching. I have never seen so much "heart" in my students' desire to give it all they have! The Language Arts section started the day. Yes, the dreaded PASSAGES! But wait! Everyone's underlining those important words! Now they're reading the passage again and DOUBLE underlining!! They are checking their test answers! Thirty minutes goes by and everyone's still working! The last test turned in at 45 minutes! Recess and then back in for Math! Can they do it again?! Oh, yeah! All those test simulation sessions worked! The scratch papers are covered front and back with numbers and calculations as each student works quickly to solve the problem before the next question is given. I have to pinch myself!! Students off to lunch and I'm dancing my way to Teacher Heaven...until the next tests tomorrow! Go Team!! To be continued...!!! Whole Brain Teaching is the BEST!!
Watching your students open those Big State Test Booklets can bring on mixed emotions! Those Dreaded Reading Passages seem to "jump" right out at them bigger than life! To help ease some of their anxiety, and mine too, my students have been required to read sample passages and attached questions twice and underline important words and phrases as they went along. I felt confident that this would be the "best" strategy they could use to be successful. Enter Stage Left...Coach B!!! Oh, yeah! It's the Double Lining Strategy! My strategy was on track, but I had failed to get my class to the Finish Line! With Coach's direction, my class now reads the passage a THIRD time looking for The 5 Most Important Words in the passage and giving those words a second underlining! Having that specific goal has everyone reading those passages more carefully and 3X!! Looking at questions, they check for Doofus, Trickster, and the ultimate Smarty answer. Previously, they had to Prove their answer choices to their partners, but during Test Simulation, they have to prove it to themselves! Our testing motto is, "Be the Tortoise, not the Hare!" Take your time...do your best! Coach B, my class and I say, "Thanks!!! You Rock!!"
For an extended explanation of Testing Strategies, go to www.wholebrainteaching.com and check out #521 State Test Prep in the Video Library.
In my last blog entry, I talked about the value of using the Super Improvers Wall with Test Prep for State Testing. My SI Wall has been one of several positive Constants in my WBT classroom this year. While it has unlimited uses for encouraging individual student improvement, it has been especially valuable most recently for encouraging positive test taking behaviors in test simulation. The instant reward of a Star on a card is amazingly powerful! Telling students a specific behavior you're "watching" for lets them focus in on a goal. Coach B has just posted a new video in the Video Library, #521 State Test Prep, that should not be missed. The Super Improvers Wall video (#503) is there also with a complete explanation of this tool and its many uses. In the pictures above, you can see the evolution of my Wall from August to March using the Rainbow colored levels labeled with dinosaur names. The goal is to reach Gold, T-rex! State Testing is 3 weeks away now, and it's exciting seeing all the students' hard labors coming together. As educators we want to think we've given them every opportunity to Shine. WBT methods have definitely improved the odds of success!