Standardized testing is right around the corner. I think we can all agree that standardized testing is one of the worst parts of teaching. I have to keep my third graders in their desks, taking a test, for four hours straight on three separate days. Ugh! Great teachers know that this is not healthy!
But no matter how much we dislike the tests, we have to give them. So why not throw in some fun?!!! I have some easy ideas for you!
Take Me Out to the Ballgame
Several years ago, I decided it would be fun to have a theme for test prep. I LOVE themes! Since testing happens in the spring, right when spring training is going strong, I decided that baseball would be the best theme. Lots of my students play Little League and so they got very excited about the baseball theme.
Testing is a lot like a sports game. You practice hard. You get a good night of sleep and eat healthy. On “game day” you show up prepared and do your very best.
Set Training Goals
First, I have students decide on spring training goals. Students write about what they need to work on during training (test prep time) in order to be successful on game day (also known as test day). Setting goals helps the students be more accountable for their test prep time.
These goal statements make a great bulletin board titled “Batter Up!” They also serve as a good reminder and kids can reread their goals when necessary.
Test Prep Tips
My third graders have very little experience with standardized testing. So I spend a little time each day teaching them some test prep tips. They range from eating a healthy breakfast to eliminating answers that are obviously incorrect. I have these test prep tips printed on posters and I hang a new poster in the classroom each day.
Students record each tip in their game day play books and write a few sentences about why it’s important. The game day play books are also great for reviewing math and ELA skills.
A Game Day Promise
As game day gets closer, I ask students to reflect on all of the test taking tips we’ve reviewed and make a game day promise. My kiddo who is always late might promise to get to school on time. My kiddo who always rushes might promise to slow down and read all the directions. I encourage each student to make a promise that will help them do their best.
I display these promises outside our door with the title, “We are going to hit this test out of the park!” or “We’re Bringing our A Game!” As students walk into class on game day, I have them reread their promise.
Practicing for Test Day
An important part of baseball and test prep is practice. My students love to use task cards for a class baseball game! This is a great way to introduce a little friendly competition into the review and keep students engaged.
I label the four corners of my classroom 1st base, 2nd base, 3rd base, and home. Then I divide the class into two teams and choose a team to be up to bat first.
Students take turns coming up to home plate. I read a question from task card. If the student answers correctly, they move to 1st base. If they get it wrong, they are out. I then randomly ask a student from the other team to answer. If that students is correct, I give them a piece of candy. Score!
After three outs, the other team is up. We keep track of the score on the white board. All of my students are so engaged because they never knew when they might get called on to answer a question and have a chance to earn a piece of candy!
A Little Extra Motivation
I like to continue the fun right through test day. One year, I found these fantastic baseball bracelets with motivating phrases and cute baseball mints at Party City. I had them waiting on the kids’ desks on the morning of the test.
After the big test, it was time for a team party! I love to show the movie Everyone’s Hero. It is an adorable movie that makes everyone laugh and has a great message.
I also have parents donate some food so that we can have hot dogs, cracker jacks, and cupcakes. The kids LOVE it! And it is just the break that we deserve!
I heat the hotdogs up in a crockpot. So simple!
If you want your own copy of the test prep printables I use for spring training, you can find them in my Game Day Test Prep kit.
More Baseball Test Prep Activities for Third Grade
Want to keep the baseball theme going? You’ll love our baseball themed escape rooms for third grade. These activities take place at Bisons’ stadium on the day of the Championship game. Unfortunately, things aren’t going smoothly for the team, so your students are called up to help. They will work their way through a series of curriculum-based reading passages and math tasks, solving problems, practicing essential skills, and working out problems to help the Bisons bring home a win (and the trophy).
Reading Test Prep Escape Room
This activity includes reading passages and puzzles that challenge students to practice reading skills while they flex their problem-solving muscles. Students must work together and practice their communication skills to solve the puzzles and decipher the clues.
This activity includes the following third grade reading skills:
- Context clues
- Character Traits
- Point of View
- Cause and Effect
- Ask and Answer
- Central Message
Math Test Prep Escape Room
In this escape room, students race against time to track down star player Lucas Ramirez’s lucky bat. He can’t find it anywhere and the team is counting on him. This fun activity is filled with engaging problems and puzzles that require students to use many third-grade math standards while practicing problem-solving strategies.
This activity includes the following third grade math skills:
- Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division
- Time and elapsed time
- Place value
- Area and perimeter
Both escape rooms are super easy to use. They each come with downloadable Google slides for use with Google Classroom and a PowerPoint version that can be used with other learning management systems. We’ve included detailed teacher instructions, including a video explanation. Audio on each slide makes it easy to differentiate and a Google Form allows students to check their own work.
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If you’re looking for other test prep tips, be sure to check out these posts for Fun Reading Test Prep Activities and Fun Math Test Prep Activities.
Have a Not So Wimpy Day!
Breakfast can have such a massive impact on the scores! Good shout!
I own this and love it! This year we will have the hot dogs, popcorn, etc. cannot wait!
You absolutely rock! Thank you for creating and sharing this!