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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Preparing for.....dun dun dun.... NAPLAN

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It's an acronym that no Australian teacher likes to hear. But whether we like it or not, NAPLAN is going to be here soon.
I don't condone teaching to NAPLAN but I do believe in preparing my students for it and ensuring they do not suffer adversely because of it.
In term 1 I make sure I cover as much of the wide scope of the Australian Curriculum as possible when it comes to Numeracy. This includes revision of what the students should have learnt in previous years and some new information that is often included in NAPLAN.
For English I cover both persuasive and narrative writing.
I also cover a wide scope of grammar, spelling and reading concepts.
Term 1 Planner

At the end of each week I get my students to do a quick 15 minute quiz. These quizzes not only allow students to display their understanding of the concepts taught that week but also familirise students with question types. Without these practise quizzes students would get answers wrong simply because they shaded two answers in or didn't understand what to do. I begin the lesson by introducing or revising that NAPLAN strategy for that week. These strategies are used by adults all the time during tests but need to be taught to students. I use characters to make these strategies stick in the students head and make learning them more interesting.

Careful Cara - Read the question carefully
Whinging Whinnie - Don't get upset about the test
Naughty Nick - Always one answer that is obviously wrong
Diligent Dolly - Working quickly and monitoring the time
Sneaky Sarah - Two answers are usually very similar
Guessing George - If in doubt guess, but use other tricks to eliminate answers

I then give students time to complete the quiz. To help gradually build up their confidence with tests I go through the first one to two tests with the class and discuss or give hints to the answers. The next few tests I only read the questions. Then they begin doing the test independently.
As students believe they have finished the quiz I mark their answers and give them a second attempt at any they get wrong. If on the second attempt the answer is still wrong I briefly explain to them which is the correct answer. My students then go on to IPad free time. Once everyone is finished I go through all the questions with the students to make sure they understand the concepts the question was testing. Incorrect answers can be recorded for later small group activities or one-on-one help.

You can purchase the quizzes I use here:
While I used them weekly they can easily be used daily in Term 2 until NAPLAN.

I do one full practice test (Numeracy) at the conclusion of term 2 that I then analysis for topics that I need to revise in term 2 with either the whole class or small groups.

The other part of preparing students is to make them understand that NAPLAN is 4 tests that you do your best in but they are not something to stress over. I explain the format of the NAPLAN, that no one is expected to get 100% on it. That is has questions from the Year 5 and 7 NAPLAN test. I also tell them that not even I usually get 100% on the test. I tell the students that doing their best will make me proud and that is something they should strive for.

Using these strategies above I avoid having any tears or comments of 'I can't do this' during NAPLAN week.

Good luck with NAPLAN 2014!

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