Test Prep Relief: Standardized Test Preparation Products & Resources to Help Get Your Students Ready!

Test Prep

Utilize games and activities to make test prep fun!

It’s that time of the year again- teachers all over the country are faced with the task of preparing their students for upcoming state and national standardized assessment tests.  Why do we use testing in our schools? We think this point in Parents’ Guide to Standardized Testing By Carolyn B. Bagin and Lawrence M. Rudner (2004) sums it up:

Educators use these standardized tests to tell how well school programs are succeeding or to give themselves a picture of the skills and abilities of today’s students……Standardized tests can help teachers and administrators make decisions regarding the instructional program. They help schools measure how students in a given class, school, or school system perform in relation to other students who take the same test. Using the results from these tests, teachers and administrators can evaluate the school system, a school program, or a particular student.

Our advice?  Practice Practice Practice; and utilize games and activities to help your student gain confidence and achieve success.  There are thousands of practice tests, games and activities that encourage critical thinking skills needed to succeed in standardized testing.  Here are some of our top picks; but click here to see all of our Test Prep Products and Flash Cards:

Math

CHALLENGE CARDS TEST PREP MATH Learners have fun reviewing money, measurement, time, graphing, and algebraic thinking concepts. Teachers, parents, and caregivers will scoop these up! Versatile, game- like activities extend learning and add fun to skill practice and review

FLASH CARDS ADDITION Fun activities teach basic addition skills. Great for test prep and review. Cards are self-checking, colorful, durable, and feature rounded corners for quick sorting.

Language Arts

BRAIN BLASTERS VOCABULARY PRACTICE Self-checking, double-sided cards provide students with practice for over 400 vocabulary words! Questions include definitions, context clues, meaning in a sentence, multiple meanings, prefixes, suffixes, homophones, antonyms, synonyms, idioms, analogies and compound words

Grammar Minutes eBooks One Hundred Minutes to Better Basic Skills provides 100 “Minutes” of 10 problems for students to complete within a short time period. Providing daily practice in key areas of grammar instruction, Grammar Minutes is a fun way to improve students’ grammar proficiency and an instant assessment tool. Great for Test Prep!
Grammar Minutes (Grade 4)
Grammar Minutes (Grade 5)
Grammar Minutes (Grade 6)

More Games & Practice Test Books

Quiz Wiz These Quiz game books help students to review core curriculum and are fun to do!   Innovative, game-based learning system was developed by teachers and classroom-tested!

Advantage Test Prep, Gr. 1-8 Practice makes perfect!  You have heard this a dozen times but it is true!  This book provides instruction in the four key curriculum areas tested nationwide – reading, writing, language, and mathematics. The formats, reading passages, and question s are all modeled after national standardized and proficiency tests. This book culminates with a practice test with a bubble answer sheet for a real test-like experience.

Test Taking Resource Articles for Parents & Teachers

No Pain, High Gain- Standardized Test Preparation

Make Test Review Fun! Help Your Students Review Test Materials With Games

Top 5 Ways to Prepare Students for Standardized Tests

photo credit: Students from Fasi Moi Afi Government primary school take part in a class activity. Part of the refurbishment of Fasi Moi Afi school was funded by AusAID. via photopin (license)

St. Patrick’s Day Lesson Plan

St. Patricks Day Classroom Decorations

The luck o’ the Irish will certainly be with you and your students as you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with this great lesson plan!

By Lisa MacBean

Primary Subject: Social Studies

Objectives: To gain a little knowledge about why St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated all over the world. To distinguish between fact and fiction.

Materials: Create a story strictly about the facts of Saint Patrick. Create a worksheet to allow discussion about fact or fiction.

  • Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland.
  • A patron saint takes special care of a country or group.
  • Saint Patrick was a caring person and did many nice things for the people of Ireland.
  • Saint Patrick was born in 385 and died around the year 460.
  • Saint Patrick died on March 17th. March 17th is the day Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated.
  • People march in parades and marching bands play. Corned beef and cabbage is a favorite meal on Saint Patrick’s Day.
  • Many people wear green on this day.
  • Green is an Irish color because of a few reasons: The first reason is because of the green shamrock leaf. According to legend, the shamrock was a sacred plant to the Druids of Ireland because its leaves formed a triad, and three was a mystical number in the Celtic religion.
  • It was used by Saint Patrick to illustrate the doctrine of the Holy Trinity as he introduced Christianity to Ireland. In the 19th century, it was a symbol of rebellion and anyone wearing it risked death by hanging. This period spawned the phrase “the wearin’ o’ the green.”
  • Occasionally, a fourth leaflet will appear, making a “four-leaf clover,” said to bring good luck to the person who discovers it.
  • The second reason green is an Irish color is because Ireland is called the “Emerald Isle” with lots of green pastures.
  • The third reason is because the people of Ireland would burn green leaves to spread over their land to make their soil richer.
  • There are legends that go along with Saint Patrick’s Day. A popular legend is about the leprechaun. Leprechauns are tiny people dressed in green and they collect pots of gold. The legend says that if you catch a leprechaun, he will lead you to his pot of gold.
  • The first Saint Patrick’s Day celebration in the United States was in 1737. This day is now celebrated all over the world. Some people sing songs and dance to celebrate.
  • The Irish dance is called the “jig”. A popular song is “The Wearin’ of the Green”.
  • The Irish are very thankful on this day because Saint Patrick taught them to read and write. The Irish read and write because generations passed their knowledge on to other generations.

Use words such as: shamrocks, leprechauns, patron saint, St. Patrick, legends, jig, parades, leprechaun’s pot of gold, corned beef and cabbage, shamrocks bring good luck

Discuss fact and fiction. If you decide one or more items might be either one, you can construct a Venn Diagram.

Questions:

1. When was Saint Patrick born?
2. When did Saint Patrick die?
3. What was he known for?
4. What is a patron saint?
5. Why do people wear green on Saint Patrick’s Day? List three reasons.

Lesson Plan Source: lessonplanspage.com

Need more lesson plans?  Check out these online resources:

St. Patrick’s Day Lesson Plans on HotChalk 
St. Patricks’s Day Themed Lessons on Teachnology

Download Instantly: St. Patrick’s Day Enhanced eBook This enhanced eBook gives you the freedom to copy and paste the content of each page into the format that fits your needs. You can post lessons on your class website, make student copies, and more.  Brighten your classroom with our selection of St. Patrick’s Day Classroom Decorations!

5 Teaching Resources for Celebrating Black History Month

Martin Luther King, Jr
Black History Month is celebrated in schools and libraries around the country each February as a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. History.

The tradition began in 1926 as when Carter G. Woodson chose a week in February because it marked the birthdays of two highly influential figures in African American History: Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

Since 1976, every U.S. president has designated the month of February as Black History Month. Canada and the United Kingdom also devote a month to celebrating black history.

Rosa Parks Riding the Bus, 1956

We are fortunate to have a wealth of information and resources at our fingertips to bring Black History Month to classrooms and communities around the world. Here are five of our favorites:

1)Black History Month – Teacher Resources from TeacherVision.com A goldmine of classroom activities and information including Slideshows,  Language Arts Activities, Music & Drama Activities, Printables and more.

2) Black History Month Lesson Plans from The Lesson Plans Page Engaging lesson plans that incorporate art, history, music and drama.

3) Black History Month Lesson Plans from Teachnology.com Lesson plans include: 365 Days of African American History; Activities for African Folk Tales ; African-American Inventors and Inventions and Appreciating Diversity

4) Black History Month from TheTeachersCorner.net Lessons plans include: Famous Black Americans: Gotta Study ‘em All where  students create “trading cards” of famous black Americans, Printable Black History Month Word Scramble, Printable Black History Month Match-up Worksheets

5) Schoodoodle’s Black History Resource Catalog is one the largest selections available and includes Activity Books, eBooks and much more.

top photo credit: mattlemmon via photopin cc

Rosa Parks photo credit: miss_rogue via photopin cc

How to Bust the Winter Break Blues

Winter Break Ideas for Kids

It’s Winter Break, you are home with the kids, and you heard the dreaded words “Mom/Dad, I’m bored”!

What to do when the kids are stuck inside thanks to freezing weather? Don’t let this happen to you! Here are some tips to remove boredom and ensure that they’re making the absolute most out of their break from school.

Board Games and Puzzles

Having a few board games around the house is a great way to keep your kids entertained outside of video games and television. Just make sure that you’ve picked something dynamic and entertaining, and most importantly, that your kids actually enjoy playing. You can find a great selection of games at Schoodoodle.com. They’re bound to love them and you’ll be surprised at how you really don’t need technology to keep your kids’ minds occupied.

Arts and Crafts

This is a truly fantastic way to spend quality time with your k-12 kids, and it’s not remotely hard to do. All you’ve got to do is to plan for just a few minutes. The majority of kids crafts can be created with things that are lying about the house or can easily be picked up at the grocery store. SchooDoodle.com offers hundreds of activity books, activity kits and supplies for arts and crafts from wiggle eyes to wax!

Kids in the Kitchen

Your kids are sure to love this one. Take the opportunity that you’ve been given with this break to show your kids the ropes of cooking! There are plenty of kid friendly recipes that they’ll be able to master in no time. Just ensure that you’ve fully prepared yourself for the mess that’s going to follow. It’s all in good fun, though.

Mix Up Family Movie Night

Ask your children what they’ve thought about a movie and create a rating scale, allowing them to show how they’d rank each individual film. From there, you can get them to write a little story or draw a few pictures that depict their favorite parts of the movie. Developing effective critical thinking skills is a great thing to encourage in your kids, that’s why this game’s a great educational tool despite it being focused on movies.

Check Local Websites and Papers

You should be able to find a range of Winter Break activities in your nearby area. Take a look at the entertainment section and, with any luck, there should be a plethora of different activities and exhibits available in your locality. If not, you can always take the car or public transport to the nearest place that’s got something going on.

Prepare for Tests

Winter Break’s a grand opportunity for making improvements to test taking abilities by going over test strategies and practice tests. Everything can’t just be fun and games, set aside some room for revision and school work! Click here to see some of our test prep supplies.

photo credit: riosetiawan via photopin cc

Schoodoodle Holiday Guide: Top Educational Holiday Gifts for Kids

Children's Holiday Gifts
As the holidays are closing in, many of you are rapidly looking for the best presents for your little ones, so we narrowed the search from some of our most popular categories.  In today’s society, there are more and more factors competing for your child’s attention. Why not enhance your child’s creativity and intelligence this holiday season with these educational games and toys. Here are some of our recommendations.

Preschools tricycles, scooters and push bikes

For young children, moving and exploring are some of most beloved activities. Why not gift him/her something that can do all of that and still be safe and fun? Preschool Tricycles, Scooters and Push Bikes from Schoodoodle.com teacher supplies provide exercise and fun for your early childhood learners! We proudly sell Winther brand products, including Winther Viking, Winther Nova Viking, and Winther Mini Viking. Be sure to see our full selection of tricycles, push bikes and scooters.Here are a few recommendations:

DUO SAFTEY SCOOTER

DUO SAFETY SCOOTER
If you are looking for your toddler’s first driving experience, this may be your best option. This scooter is durable enough to withstand even the most active children. This popular toy can also be operated by small children and features a wide seat for increased safety and stability.

VIKING TRICYCLE BIG
Preschool Tricycles, Scooters and Push Bikes
If you have a more experienced young rider, he or she will appreciate this hot rod. It has exciting looks and adjustable seat so your children can enjoy it for years to come. This Tricycle features a comfortable seat and will make your little one the speediest child on the street.

Arts and Crafts supplies

Encouraging creativity and growing the imagination is one of the greatest gifts we can give to our children. Click here to see all of our arts and crafts kits and supplies for children. Here are some of the top gifts we recommend this year:

 

FRIENDS 4 EVER BRACELET KIT
Kids BRACELET KIT
It’s a Friend-zy! Suitable for ages 8 years and up, this creative kit features 2 styles, 8 patterns, and enough beads to make 22 bracelets! Includes 4 color-coded looms, 22 colors of floss, beads, beading needle and easy instructions. Comes in a convenient take-me-anywhere suitcase!

GIANT ART JAR
GIANT ART JAR
Giant art jar gives your child many possibilities to craft anything he wants out of the paper. It comes with pipe cleaners, feathers, multi colored pom-poms and everything your kid might need to express himself.

Creative Play Toys

Motivate your child’s imagination with these creative play school toys! Some of the best lessons are learned through play.

GREEN BUILD A FORT
GREEN BUILD A FORT
The ultimate boredom buster! Kids will love hiding in this customizable fort that features authentic camouflage panels and lots of additional parts. Two glowing sticks are also included to illuminate their hut.

NANOBLOCK SPACE SHUTTLE
NANOBLOCK SPACE SHUTTLE
Give your aspiring astronaut the experience of building their own space ship! This gift is not only fun, it will boost your child’s creativity while teaches them problem solving skills.

Educational games for kids

These games are not just fun and a way to keep them distracted- these items will help to teach them how to think for themselves and understand the world around them.


LET’S GO FISHING

Educational Toys and Games
This game is certain to amuse your child and their friends as they try compete to catch the most fish. This a game of rhythm, timing and precision, and can improve your child’s eye hand coordination while having fun.

MATH MAT CHALLENGE GAME
Math Games for Kids
Learn math the fun way. Let your kid to take quiz games and learn math with their feet. The pace of the game gets faster by every right answer. It has 6 different games and 2 skill levels and it teaches counting, addition and subtraction up to 20. Your kid will surely love it

 Happy Shopping!

photo credit: Axel Bührmann via photopin cc

National Parent Involvement Day – November 20, 2014

National Parental Involvement Day seems kind of like Mother’s Day.  I mean, we should show Mom we love her everyday, right?  But, I’m not complaining that we’ve set aside a day to recognize the importance  – of both.

It is no secret that parental involvement plays a large role in the academic success of our children.  According to the vast amount of research out there, in the early years, parental involvement has a significant impact on children’s cognitive development and literacy and number skills.  Furthermore, parental involvement in a child’s schooling for a child between the ages of 7 and 16 is a more powerful force than family background, size of family and level of parental education.

Some school districts are recognizing how important the role of the parent is, and are even including parental involvement in their metrics to measure school effectiveness.  For example, New York City schools will soon be rated based on how well they work with parents.  This was  announced a few weeks ago as NYC schools embark upon an overhaul of how they engage with families.

As a former teacher, I can tell you first hand that parental involvement is not only important – but it is essential to student success.  It’s more than showing up for conferences and plays and helping with homework.  It’s more about demonstrating to our children that learning is not confined to the classroom.  It’s about supporting the learning that happens in the classroom in real and relevant ways.  Most teachers will agree with that statement.  I believe that the vast majority of parents truly want to help their kids.  However ,there are a many real reasons why some aren’t as connected to the school as they should be (i.e., time, language barriers, job constraints, etc.).  Overcoming the obstacles is a two-way street.  Parents need to reach out to teachers, and teachers need to make sure that parents have the resources they need to be involved.  Just as “one size does not fit all” with our students, the same applies to parents.  With National Parental Involvement Day on the horizon (November 17), maybe it is a good time for all of us to find one thing that we can do to improve parental involvement within our educational organization.  Maybe, if everyone does one thing to make a difference, we will.  What do we have to lose….  well, except the academic success of our kids?

If parental involvement is a priority at your school or organization, tell us how you’re addressing it.  We’d love to hear from you.

Schoodoodle.com carries a wide selection of resources designed to help parents support the learning process at home.  Browse our Parental Involvementresources, as well as resources for home school kidsearly childhood learning materials, and learning games for kids.

Featured Lesson Plan: Election Vocabulary Bingo

Election Day Lesson Plan

Election Day is coming up,  and we want to encourage teachers take advantage of this learning opportunity in American politics and history.  Though students are not old enough to vote, they can still feel involved in the process of electing our leaders and determining the future of our county.  When we engage our children and teach them to care about this process; it nurtures a desire and commitment for them to be caring and responsible citizens later.

Our featured lesson plan this week comes from Teacher Vision and is featured in their large selection of Election Day Teaching Resources and printable lesson plans.  We hope that you will visit this source to enhance your Election Day curriculum and share your ideas!

Election Day Student Activities

Enjoy this weeks featured lesson plan!

Election Vocabulary Bingo
Grade Levels: 4 – 7

Objectives

  • Students will review election vocabulary.
  • Teacher will be able to assess students’ knowledge of election vocabulary.

Materials

Procedures

After students have had a few days to review and learn all of the election vocabulary, play a game of bingo with them.
Distribute Bingo Cards and chips. Read the definitions of the words out loud. Students put a chip on the cards when they see the word that matches the definition.

When students have four across, diagonally, or vertically they yell out “Bingo!”
Have students read out the words that gave them bingo, checking that you actually read the definitions for those words. Give winners prizes. Students switch cards and play again!

Source:
TeacherVision® is dedicated to helping teachers save time. Find 20,000 pages of classroom-ready lesson plans, printables, and resources.

photo credit Vote: Alan Cleaver via photopin cc

photo credit flag: peddhapati via photopin cc

Celebrate American Education Week November 16-22!

American Education Week

Originally posted on www.nea.org

The National Education Association’s 93rd annual American Education Week—November 17-21, 2014—presents all Americans with an opportunity to celebrate public education and honor individuals who are making a difference in ensuring every child receives a quality education. Our AEW tagline, “Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility,” reflects NEA’s vision of calling upon all Americans to do their part in making public schools great for every child so that they can grow and achieve in the 21st century.

The weeklong celebration will spotlight distinguished individuals who are critical in building great public schools for the nation’s 50 million K-12 students. American Education Week’s celebration days include:

Monday, November 17: Kickoff Day
Nationwide Kickoff. Across the country, schools will celebrate excellence in education by hosting kickoff events and activities.

Tuesday, November 18: Parents Day
Schools will invite parents into the classroom for a firsthand look at what the school day is like for their children.

Wednesday, November 19: Education Support Professionals Day
Education Support Professionals keep schools running and students safe, healthy and ready to learn. ESPs work hard to serve students in public schools and how committed ESPs are to both their jobs and their communities.

Thursday, November 20: Educator for a Day
Community leaders will be invited to experience the day as educators and experience the challenges of teaching and the needs of students. Learn more about this program through the Educator for a Day Promotional Kit.

Friday, November 21: Substitute Educators Day
Substitute educators play a vital role in the maintenance and continuity of daily education. Learn more about these professionals and take a look at resources and tips for substitute educators.

Is your community participating?  Click here for a list of resources and promotional materials.

Hispanic Heritage Month Lesson Plans and Classroom Resources

Hispanic Heritage Month Lesson Plans and Classroom Resources

Photo source: National Hispanic Heritage Month on Facebook

“Hispanics: A legacy of history, a present of action and a future of success.” -2014 Theme for National Hispanic Heritage Month

Did you know that Hispanic Americans are one of the fastest growing population groups in the United States according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau?  In fact, 50.5 million people or 16% of the population are of Hispanic or Latino origin. National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) is an opportunity for students of all ages to learn about the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society.

Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes the contributions made by Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States and celebrates their heritage and culture. Just last week, the White House released the following statement:

“This month’s theme, “Hispanics: A legacy of history, a present of action and a future of success,” reminds us of all the ways Hispanics have enriched our Union and shaped our character. From those with roots that trace back generations to those who have just set out in pursuit of the promise of America, they have come to represent the spirit of our Nation: that with hard work, you can build a better life for yourself and a better future for your children. Hispanics have served honorably in our Armed Forces, defending the values we hold dear. They have transformed industries with new, innovative ideas. And they have led and inspired movements that have made our Nation more equal and more just.” Presidential Proclamation — National Hispanic Heritage Month, 2014

Here are some helpful educational resources, themed lesson plans (most of them are free) and classroom activities to help you integrate National Hispanic Heritage Month into your classroom:

Education World: Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month! 
National Education Association: National Hispanic Heritage Month 
Scholastic.com: Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Teacher’s Guide 
ReadWriteThink: Hispanic Heritage Month begins today. 
The Lesson Plans Page: Hispanic Heritage Month Lessons
EDSITEment: National Hispanic Heritage Month 

Hispanic Heritage Month Lesson Plans and Classroom Resources

Click here  to see more ideas on how you can observe National Hispanic Heritage Month with your students with Schoodoodle.com ebooks and supplies!

 

12 Helpful Online Lesson Sharing Resources for Teachers

 

Back to School

Teacher Collaboration

With today’s technology, educators have more resources and connections at their disposal than ever before. Online collaboration with colleagues, now embraced by K-12 educators all over the world,  can be a very effective way to prepare lessons for your students. Not only can it make life easier, it can help to improve the quality of curriculum.

All schools have different needs and styles, so collaborating within your school and district is the best place to start. From there, lesson sharing websites are reinventing the possibilities teachers can delve into for finding new approaches and materials in their classroom.

Here is a sampling of some of the many sites available to educators for lesson sharing, let us know which ones you like to use!

#1 MyDoodle

Schoodoodle’s own online teacher resource built to enable educators to share ideas and lessons directly with each other! Click here to get started!

#2 Share My Lesson

Share My Lesson invites educators and others who work with students to exchange resources and ideas for FREE! This is a wonderful site for teachers who want to share lesson plans and best practices with peers not just in their district, but across the country. www.sharemylesson.com

#3 Planboard

Planboard helps you easily plan lessons, track standards, and collaborate between teachers worldwide to create the best lesson plan for a particular subject. www.planboardapp.com

#4 Scholastic

Offers thousands of free lesson plans, unit plans, discussion guides, and extension activities. www.scholastic.com

#5 BetterLesson

An online platform for teachers to create, organize, and share high-quality curriculum. BetterLesson aims to provide teachers with the tools to create, organize, and share curriculum in a dynamic and sustainable manner. betterlesson.com

#6 Curriki

Curriki gives teachers, students & parents access to 50,000+ free & open source K-12 #OER curricula. Curriki originated from the idea that technology can play a crucial role in breaking down the barriers of the Education Divide – the gap between those who have access to high-quality education and those who do not. Therefore, we aim to provide world class educational resources and curricula collaboration tools for free to anyone that wishes to use them. www.curriki.org

#7 Common Curriculum

This “Holy Grail” of lesson plans helps teachers plan units and lessons, share them with their team, school, or district, and publish them for students and families. Allows teachers to search Common Core & State Standards, create templates and plan units for the entire year…and it’s free for teachers. www.commoncurriculum.com

#8 WatchKnowLearn

Imagine tens of thousands of excellent, short videos and other media explaining every topic taught to school kids. Imagine them rated and sorted into a giant directory! www.watchknowlearn.org

#9 NROC Math

A community guided non-profit empowering learning by sharing digital content with students and educators. NROC courses and applications like HippoCampus and EdReady may be adapted by member institutions to support local initiatives and to enhance online, blended and face-to-face learning environments. www.nrocmath.org

#10 National Science Teachers Association

An endless supply of scientific curriculum from elementary through college educators sponsored by the National Science Teachers Association, the largest organization in the world dedicated to science education. www.nsta.org

#11 National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

With more than 200 publications written by educators for educators, NCTM is the resource for all of your mathematics education needs. Browse our extensive selection of publications, including books for classroom activities, professional development, and research. www.nctm.org

#12 Schmoop

Offers free and open resources and keeps it fun & relevant for students in the digital age! www.shmoop.com

These are some of our favorite lesson sharing sites…what are yours? Share your favorites, and any other insight you have, in the comment section below. Working together to develop a knowledge database of top lesson sharing sites will make for better educators all around!

More info we found on www.edutopia.org

Curriculum-Sharing Websites:
Roundups and Write-ups for More Sources:

photo credit: Old Shoe Woman via photopin cc

photo credit: Government of Alberta via photopin cc