Sunday, April 13, 2008

PSSA Preparation

As we strive to provide authentic learning for our students, ever present in the back of our minds is "the test!" Whether you teach in Pennsylvania, New York, Florida or any of the wonderful states in our country, you most likely have a state test to answer to. In Pennsylvania, our test is the PSSA. Despite the circumstances, all students are expected to perform, do well, and make their teachers shine!

Over the years, I've come up with some tips that seem to help most students relax and do their best on the test. I try to sprinkle these throughout the school year, and as the test day nears, I find the students can quote most of them verbatim. This year I decided instead of reviewing these tips with the students, I would have them create their own reviews to share with their peers.

Providing students with no rubric and minimum directions, I asked them to choose partners or small groups and create a presentation that would help others to perform well on the PSSA. Students chose to create movies, podcasts, powerpoints, and smartboard presentations to showcase their tips. I posted them all on a blog called "PSSA Preparation." Here is a link:

Below I am embedding some of my favorite projects. If you like these, by all means go to the site and check out some more.

Of course, I worry about PSSA results like every other teacher in Pennsylvania. From the first day of school, I am ever mindful of the standards and what I know my students need to know by that fateful day in March when they "take the test." On the other hand, I know there is a lot my students need to know that is "not on the test." I found this video that really hit the mark for me. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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