Test prep in upper elementary – love it or hate it? I’d rather do a lot of things than have my students take a standardized test, let’s be honest. BUT I do love the opportunites for fun and engaging activities that 5th grade test prep provides. Here are my five favorite ways to review for state testing in upper elementary!
1. Connect Four
This review activity is my favorite because it can be used with ANY content and it literally takes no time to prep.
Here’s how we play:
1. Draw a grid on the board. I divide my class into four groups, and each group gets a different color stack of sticky notes.
2. I ask a review question, then each group decides their answer and writes it on a sticky note.
3. The “runner” from each group has to run to place their sticky on the board!
4. If a group gets an answer incorrect, their sticky note is taken off of the board. If they get it correct, it stays! (this encourages them to not rush) Groups get a point each time they get four sticky notes in a row, and the group with the most points at the end-wins!
2. Around the Room
Not only is an Around the Room activity great for any time of year, it’s absolutely PERFECT for 5th grade test prep! The best part? It’s literally so simple. Once you decide what content you want your students to review, all you need to do is tape separate questions around the classroom. You can take a regular worksheet and cut it apart, use task cards, etc.! Have your students carry around clipboards with notebook paper to record their answers. I like to put on some instrumental music as they walk around the room and answer questions!
I love around the room activities because they get students up and moving, but still offer rigorous and meaningful practice or review. Want a made-for-you 5th grade math around the room activity? Click here for my best-selling 5th grade math imposters activity.
3. Color by Number
Think fifth graders are too old to color? Not in the slightest! Color by number activities were a 5th grade test prep favorite in my classroom. They’re great for lots of repitition of concepts, but without the monotony of a regular worksheet. These are great for center or station activities, sub plans, or you can even cut apart the questions to create an around the room activity! I love to pull out 5th grade color by number activities to review concepts from earlier in the year that my students may have forgotten.
Basically, students will answer each question on the worksheet, and then color the corresponding picture according to their answer choices. They are PERFECT for a quick, formative assessment because you can see how your students did just by looking at their pictures. You can grab an entire years’ worth of 5th grade math color by number activities here, to use year-round AND for test prep in the spring!
5. Class Competition
I’m a big fan of this test prep game for upper elementary because it’s totally free and easy peasy to set up. Here’s how it works: Grab a set of problems from the textbook, or a worksheet. Divide your students into groups or partners, and give them the problems to solve, as well as a time limit. (For example, I’ll say, “You have 20 minutes to work on problems 1-15 on page 205.”) Have them work to solve the problems, and when time is up, collect their answer sheets, put on some dramatic gameshow music, and check their answers to see which group got the most correct.
The group with the most correct answers wins! (jolly ranchers are great as a reward.) I do not announce how many each group got correct/incorrect as to not embarrass anyone, I simply announce the group that got the MOST correct out of everyone. I do however, hand back their answer sheets to each group can see the questions they got correct/incorrect. This review activity is great because they’ll work together to solve the problems, and they want to get them CORRECT, not just finish the fastest – so it promotes accuracy as well.