First of all, I should be upfront in saying that I take way more than 8 days to review for the STAAR Test. There are things that are ongoing throughout the year as well as things I do a few weeks before the test is administered. But, if you are down to the wire and feeling the crunch, this would be one of the best ways to spend your time.
It's gonna kill a few trees, you are going to be walking around the room like a mad person helping struggling students, but it is the most thorough method of review I have found so far. Each student is accountable for his/her own work. They can't rely on a partner doing anything for them, so the student quickly realizes where he/she needs to focus and what needs a little more work before the test.
And this year, I've made each Category review packet even better. I went through the TEKS with a fine-toothed comb and made sure that I included something from every single Readiness and Supporting standard. So, NOTHING is left out. And, I've labeled all of the TEKS.
Your students will definitely need some additional resources to help them out when they get stuck on a problem,but I'll discuss that a little later. Here is how I've organized this review for my students this year.
I purchased a folder with pockets and brads for each student. It is their STAAR folder. They wrote their name and class period on the front and I added a color dot to each folder, since I have my classes organized by colors. I have a special place to store them everyday for students who are leaving them in the classroom. Inside the brads, I included the DynaNotes STAAR Review Guide. It is like a Readers Digest for everything they need to know in each of the 4 Reporting Categories. I have also included a list of the TEKS in each Reporting Category and how many questions will come from each category on the actual STAAR test. I believe it's very important that you explain how the STAAR test is laid out and what is expected of them. This is their "job", so they need to take it seriously and have all of the facts in order to be successful.
I created a STAAR review Calendar so that my students know "The Plan" for the next few weeks. A lot of my students like to work ahead, which is totally fine by me. So many of them are motivated to get a little bit ahead (either because they want to avoid having homework later on or because they just love science so much! who knows?!?!)
From the beginning I explained that for 8 class days, they would be working on these packets. Each day they are given a "goal" of how much to complete and if they don't meet that goal, they must take it home and finish meeting the goal before I see them the next day. At the start of the next class, I walk around (while they are working) and check that each student met the goal. If not, they have to call home right then and let their parents know that they are assigned to mandatory afterschool tutorials with me the following day until 5:00. I have been amazed that out of all of my classes, only 3 students have had to do this! I think that just shows how much they don't want to give up their afternoon and they know I mean business. They also know from my heart-to-heart at the beginning of the review, that I think this could be the difference for several of them between passing and failing and that I KNOW if they take this 8 day review seriously, they will be successful.
Everyday my students come in and gather up their resources. This is their STAAR folder, their Interactive Science Notebook (with flip-out periodic table and formula chart), a ScienceSaurus book and a textbook. On the board, I have written specific page numbers in each of these resources for them to look at. This keeps them from having to look through the entire book for an answer (maybe they only have to look through a chapter or two). I DO NOT give my students answers EVER. If they need help, I will either show them the page to look at or ask them multiple questions that will help lead them in the direction of the answer. It is important to teach your students how to think and what that thought process should look and sound like. It is equally important to teach them how to access their resources.
So, Day 1, we start the Category 1 packet. This packet always takes my students WAYYY longer than the other packets, so almost everyone has some homework that first day. I explain that they will only have 15-20 minutes the following class day to finish, and then we will start grading it. The grading bled over into day 3 a little bit, but that was ok. After grading on day 3, they started the Category 2 packet. On day 4, they had 15-20 minutes to finish and then we started grading. This pattern continues on for all 4 packets. Some of the packets go much quicker for the students depending on their level of comfort with the topics. It all ends up even in the end. I always have the next packet ready to go in case I have early finishers who can get a head start on the next one.
After the 8 days, we will be going over the released test they took and correcting it. We will also spend a few days in the computer lab, with each student working on their specific weaknesses. I have set up many games and activities on my classroom blog for students to do. Each activity has been aligned with a TEKS and the students will know what their weakest TEKS are by then. I've gathered this data over the year with district curriculum based assessments and the released STAAR test they took.
I have provided links for most of the things I've mentioned in this post, so feel free to download and use them for your personal classroom. I would appreciate any feedback or comments below!
Review Packets - one for each Reporting Category
TEKS Outline for STAAR Test