Test Taking Skills Exhibit

Sunday, July 27, 2014
It seems like there is never enough time in the year to hit every topic in every room, so I have to get a little creative. Something I became interested in last year is programming that delivers the core school counseling curriculum without me doing classroom lessons (though this could absolutely be done as a classroom lesson, you would just need to bring all the materials with you to each room). My first major attempt at this was through a "test taking skills exhibit".

First inspired by this test-taking skills foldable at Savvy School Counselor, I decided to create an exhibit of sorts; something that teachers could bring their classes to that would really run itself. The gist of it is that students (in pairs or trios) would cycle through different test-taking skills stations, adding to their foldable at each one. Teachers and students both love this because it provides a much needed change of pace from the "drill and kill"/review that they're doing in the classroom, plus it provides an opportunity for movement!

At each station they:
     1) read about the skill,
     2) add it to their foldable (draw on the outside, glue the description on the inside), and then
     3) practice the skill.

In consultation with my teachers, these are the skills for the exhibit:
  • Fly Over First (look quickly at the questions before reading the passage)
  • Own the Operation (think right away about which operation(s) the problem calls for)
  • Slash the Trash (eliminate answers you know are wrong)
  • Bee Prepared (get a good night's rest, eat a healthy breakfast, etc.)
  • Dodge the Difficult Ones (skip and go back to the hard ones)
  • Jail the Detail (underline/highlight/circle important words in questions)
  • Believe in Your Brain (think helpful/positive thoughts)
  • Review Your Responses (check your answers)

At each of the 8 stations was a cup of markers (for writing and illustrating the skill), slips of paper describing the skill in more detail scissors (for trimming the folder or slips), glue sticks (for the slips), and a trifold board all about the skill. Here's an example of one of the boards:

As you can see, the left has an example of how to write/draw the skill on the foldable, the center has a brief description of the skill (the same thing that's on the paper slips for the inside of the foldable), and the right has directions for practicing the skill. Here are all of the rest of the boards:

As you can see on the directions side, I made questions/problems for most of the boards that students practice the skill with. Although our achievement test isn't 100% common core based, our curriculum is, so I used CCSS to develop both ELA and math questions.

If you're interested in any of the "Directions" sheets or practice questions, leave a comment with your email and I'll send you what you have - it's a bit much to upload right now.


  1. Hi, I love the creativity behind this idea. It also seems like it creates a great collaborative way to help students acquire these skills. I would love any additional details you are willing to send via email. This is a must try for me this school year! Thanks again. Mbawden@wcpss.net

  2. Hi,
    This is a great idea! Can you send me the directions? Thanks so much!

  3. This is a great idea. Could you send directions to me?

  4. I love the idea too! Can you send me the directions please?

  5. I love the idea too! Can you send me the directions please?

  6. I'd love to use this. Please send to awood@athensisd.net

  7. I would like to use it also.
    Thank you! denise.goodwyn@pisd.edu

  8. I would love the directions too!!



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