NAPLAN rolls around year after year. No matter if you are a teacher that supports national testing or not, Year 3 and Year 5 teachers need to make sure they do their best to support their students through the lead-up and week of testing.
Being both Year 3 teachers this year, we decided to put together our top ideas to help prepare your students for NAPLAN. Note: These ideas are based on supporting your students emotionally and mentally, not a list of test prep activities.
1. Don’t put any extra emphasis on the test itself. It is data collection that adults use for a range of purposes. It is NOT something little minds should be worried about and consumed by. Play it down as much as you can.
2. Provide students with the tools they need on the day of the tests so they have nothing ‘extra’ to worry about (pencils, erasers etc). Explain to your students that all of these needs will be taken care of for them.
3. Do a practice run so they know what to expect. Even though we are transitioning to complete the testing digitally on laptops, using the paper tests are still an excellent way to discuss strategies for what to do if students don’t know an answer. Give students a chance to practise tests in pairs or triads too. Not only does it save paper, but it takes away the ‘silence’ component and allows students to talk about the questions and learn from each other.
4. Work on developing your students Growth Mindset skills. Discuss how they can show grit and determination. Teaching your students about Growth Mindset is a lifelong gift you are giving them. You may like to try some of our Growth Mindset activities.
5. Give them something to look forward to after the test. It doesn’t need to be fancy, some extra play time, an art lesson that you think they will enjoy or time to work on a passion project are all ideas that may help motivate your students.
6. The day before, explain to students what is going to happen so they know what to expect. Additionally, a week before we like to put a note in students diaries so parents are aware which days certain tests will be on, so they can help calm any anxious nerves at home. Furthermore, tell students about changes to the desk layout, any extra break times they might have and who will be in the room during the test.
7. Make revision FUN! Worksheet after worksheet is boring for everyone involved. Skills can be just as easily reviewed through playing hands-on games, asking students to work in pairs to solve problems or by playing a class game or quiz. Another great way to practise test style questions digitally is by using the online quiz website, Kahoot. There are many free pre-made quizzes to use, or you can create your own. Additionally, you can choose to play as an individual or in teams. Guaranteed fun and engagement from your students.
8. Reduce stress and pressure where you can upon yourself and the students. Students should be able to take the test with confidence knowing that all they need to do is try their best and that one test doesn’t show all their amazing skills and talents! Sometimes it is beneficial if this message is also passed onto parents as well.
9. Consider wearing some outfits during the week that are more fun than usual. It could be more colourful, patterned material adorned in accessories. This can help distract little anxious minds and doesn’t fun, playful colours make everyone feel better?
10. Give your students something special to remind them that you love and support them. We like to give a little gift tag and a sweet or treat. It is just a token to let the students know you are on their team!
NAPLAN is a one-off test that doesn’t even come close to covering all the varied skills students learn through your teaching. So, use this time as an opportunity to hone your students working habits, master your explicit teaching and have a little fun.
We wish you and your students the best of luck for the upcoming NAPLAN tests.
If you are looking for some gift tags ideas, grab ours here.
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