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Sunday, 8 May 2016

No Stress NAPLAN Testing

The most important thing during NAPLAN is to to make the students 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 NAPLAN, that no one is expected to get 100% on it. That it has questions from year levels above theirs. 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.

 By carefully preparing my students for NAPLAN I have never had any tears or comments of 'I can't do this'. In a split 2/3 class I even had a year 2 student beg me to let them do the test!

Test Strategies

Introduce strategies to students help students cope with the test. 
For younger students introduce strategies as a memorable character (see below for suggested names).
Dead Fred- Did not die from a test
Whinging Whinnie - negative character- gets upset about tests
Careful Cara - Reads the questions carefully by looking for key words
Naughty Nick -Places a silly (obviously wrong) answer in each question
Sneaky Sarah - Places two similar answers in each question to try and trick you
Guessing George - Makes guesses only when necessary and eliminates first
Recheck Rebecca -Rechecks her answers at the end

Purchase these posters on Design by Teachers.

Good luck to all students and teachers!

Monday, 2 May 2016

10 Ways to get More out of NAPLAN Week

NAPLAN is an unfortunate part of the education system in Australia. Don't let NAPLAN interrupt a whole week of learning, here is 10 ways to get more out of NAPLAN week this year!

1) Teach testing strategies to impact future (more important) tests. Students need to learn tricks such as eliminating incorrect answers, reading the questions carefully and checking their work. Click here to learn more about how I teach these strategies to students.

2) As the NAPLAN tests don't really matter you can help to promote a fearless attitude towards tests. A student who doesn't stress about the NAPLAN tests will be less likely to stress about HSC/TEE or university exams. Last year I had a split grade 2/3 class and I had a year 2 student BEG me to sit NAPLAN. He had no fear towards the test as I had taught my students to see the fun in it!

3) Use NAPLAN as a springboard for writing activities like writing a letter to the next years group of year 3/5s telling them about the experience and any tips they might have.

4) At the conclusion of the week reflect on the experience with a PMI (Plus. Minus and Interesting). Reflective practices are important to have to get the most out of learning experiences and it helps students debrief if they have found the week difficult.

5) Have your students delve deeper into NAPLAN with a comprehension text or research report into NAPLAN including why we have it and its history. This helps students understand why the tests shouldn't matter to them and practices reading and research skills.

6) Learn about poetry types by getting students to write a poem about their feelings towards NAPLAN through a haiku or cinquain. This is also great for students to see they share the same emotions as other students.

7) Incorporate maths into the week by graphing the experiences. What emotions are students feeling before the test? After the test? How do they compare? How did they find the test? easy, medium, hard?

8) As a final persuasive writing practice session or a chance to use their new skills if the writing text type is instead a narrative get the students to write whether or not we should have national testing.

9) On the opposite side, if you would like them to do a narrative text then ask them to come up with the craziest reason to get out of a NAPLAN test. This is can really lighten the mood of the week and give everyone a laugh!

10) After the tests each day the students are not up for large content lessons so take the excuse and play games with the students and bond with them! When students think of NAPLAN week have them look back fondly rather then negatively.

I wish you and your students all the luck in NAPLAN next week. Make sure to frequently remind students it is only four tests that show what the students are capable of on that day, the results do not mean anything in the long run,
To read more about my preparation for NAPLAN click here.