Reviewing for the Grade 8 Science STAAR Test

Well, it's that time of year again...
If you dream about STAAR test questions, ways to prepare your kids, and stress about how they will do, you might be a Texas Science Teacher!

I've spent a lot of time collecting great free resources online, so I thought I'd share them with you.  Many of them are from some spectacular talented Texas Teachers and a few are my own creations.

This year, I decided to teach my 8th graders how the test is laid out (4 Reporting Categories) and the percentage of Readiness and Supporting Standards that will be tested in each of those categories.  I think to be successful, you must know how the test is created and what you are expected to know.  All of this information can be found on the TEA website (click HERE for the Blueprint).

I only have 12 class days to prep my kiddos, so I wanted to make sure I was as organized as possible.  My class periods are already color coordinated, so I've purchased a folder with pockets and brads for each student in their class color.  I have created a calendar that I will have each student place in the brads along with the TEKS organized by Reporting Category.  I also have the DynaNotes Review Guide for each student (It's like a reader's digest version of the TEKS).  On my Teachers Pay Teachers, I have 6 different editable brochures that I print out  for my students, each brochure focusing on different topics that may be tested on.  To check out my brochures, CLICK HERE.

If you are looking for some fun, interactive ways to review big picture ideas in science, CLICK HERE to check out my Easy as Pie Series.  Or to see my newest series called "That's a Fact, Jack! Science Sorting", CLICK HERE.

The following are resources I found online at Blalack Middle School's Website.  I want to thank Kent Trulsson for all of his hard work on the STAAR Science Tutorials.  Click HERE to check it out.

The main review materials I am using this year are these beauties!  Review Packets for each of the 4 Reporting Categories

After spending about a week working on these in class (and maybe what isn't finished in class for homework), I am going to let students determine which TEKS they need more practice on - I went through each Reporting Category Review and determined which TEKS each question was covering.  That way, if they miss that question or flat out didn't have a clue, they can highlight that TEKS and practice it more the following week when we go to the computer lab.  Once they have determined that, we will spend several days in the computer lab with students working on individual weaknesses in the form of related online videos, readings, and review games that are specific to the targeted TEKS they have determined as weak areas.

What I love most about this plan, is that I am freed up to move around the room and facilitate individual learning and I can spend more time with the kiddos I am most concerned about.  Then, when we go to the computer lab next week, everything is directed to the individual student.  It would be impossible to teach all 135 of my students the same review topics and expect to get great results.  Every student has their own strengths and weaknesses and I hope this plan will meet the needs of the individual.

How do you review for the STAAR test or your state standardized tests?