Monday, March 18, 2013

Countdown to STAAR!

Is Spring Break really over?? Really?!?!?!? The loud and unforgiving ringing of my alarm clock this morning says "'s over!"

That can only mean one thing: the STAAR test (our high stakes, standardized test here in the Lone Star state) is just around the 5 weeks to be exact :(

Here's my plan: review, review, review......and just when I think they've had enough review......I'm gonna review some more!!! I'm gonna try and mix it up as much as I make the review as fun and engaging as possible! Luckily, I have some really creative teacher blogger friends to help me out with the "engaging" part! 

Here is a how my math workshop/guided math block goes:

1) Bell Work- this is a spiral review of some kind.  In Texas, we have something called Target Math.  We work a different color each day and by the end of 2 weeks (10 days) we are done with a set.

We do this together, whole group.

2) We practice word/story problems EVERY day.  We do 3-4 problems together, whole group.  We use "Look, Know, Solve" boxes.  The students find what we are looking for (the question in the problem), the information we are given and then a place to work it out. This is a great way for the kids to pull out the info they need and know what they are looking for!

3) Then we do stations.  This is the part my kids love!  We have tried stations 2 other times this year and we had to stop both times.....they just couldn't handle the responsibility and independence.  I had to do everything whole group (which I hate) and I couldn't meet with my small groups (which I hate even more!).  I told them that we could do fun practice and games while I met with small groups or they could do worksheets while I met with small's their choice.  Today.....they made the right choice :)

My math stations go to the acronym T.I.M.E.

T- teacher time (work with me at my table doing a student guided lesson......right now we are working on our Countdown to STAAR curriculum)
I- independent work (usually STAAR practice of some kind)
M- math fact practice (my choice, sometimes a game, sometimes independent practice, sometimes computer practice)
E- enrichment (the fun!)

I'm trying this.  I really can't say if I love it or not......I'll let ya know in a month or so :)  I'm hoping it works and that I can keep it for next year, too!  In looking for items for some whole group activities and for my enrichment station, I found some great stuff on TpT (shocking.....I know!).

That's all for now!  Wish me luck with stations this week......cause I'm gonna need it :)


  1. Hey Mandi! We have 5 weeks until the BIG test too... I am doing test prep Tuesday posts with different things I am doing for test prep. I posted one today if you haven't seen it.
    Third Grade Tidbits

  2. Thanks, Gina! I'm headed over there now :)

  3. Hey Mandi! I know the feeling of testing days. When I taught 3rd grade it was called TAKS. I wish you and your 3rd graders the best!! You guys will rock that test. By the looks of things your prepping them well. Your blog design is so cute. =)

    One Fab Teacher

  4. Thank you, Tiffany! That's so sweet!! This is my first year in 3rd and I'm a bit nervous. The kind words and support are very appreciated :)

  5. My kiddos LOVE math centers also! I am always looking for new ways to add in new, engaging games and practice, and you have just given me several new ideas! Thank you so much for sharing :)

    1. Thanks so much, Miss Martin! I love that you got some new ideas :) Stop by anytime!!

  6. I would love to hear more about how you teach math! I looks like you are trying for a mix of whole group and small group instruction. That is great! How did the test go?

    The Math Maniac