### Standardized Testing Good Luck Hands

Standardized testing often causes anxiety and stress for students. I alleviate these worries and build students’ self-esteem with Standardized Testing Khamsas (Good Luck Hands), part of our Standardized Test Prep Unit.

The khamsa, which means five in Arabic, is a good luck symbol from Morocco, Africa. Often made with precious metal like silver and gold, these ornate and colorful hands are used to bring luck and blessings into people’s lives.  Students feel so special making these good luck hands; these are always a top keepsake for the year.

To make in the classroom, simply have students trace their hands on aluminum foil and glue onto brightly colored construction paper. Students can add detail with Sharpies and glue on jewels, buttons, eyes and sequins. Display these on bulletin board for a beautiful reminder for students to believe in themselves during testing time.

### Say Hello to Hailey Hopping Hare

I’m Hailey the Hopping Hare, I’m the skip-counting master.
This is a skill that helps to count things faster;
Learn to count up or down by a number other than one.
Quick like a bunny, you soon will be done.
Keep in mind that skip counting is repeated addition.
Moving swiftly through problems is my main mission.

WHAT is hopping? Students use place value and number sense to add or subtract numbers. Students first start with the bigger number in the problem; this number is the starting point for hopping. Then they decompose or break apart the second number by place value (into 10’s and 1’s). Depending on the problem, students will either add or subtract, hopping first by 10’s and then by 1’s. Students label numbers above hops to help ensure solution is correct.  Read more about Hailey’s strategy below or download the complete unit here.

WHY is hopping important?  When students use the hopping strategy, they are essentially skip-counting by 10’s and 1’s. This helps strengthen mental computation, builds number sense and solidifies foundational place value skills. It also serves as an efficient method for students to double-check solutions. Furthermore, hopping can easily be extended to larger numbers and multi-step problems because it tracks mathematical thinking and steps taken to complete problem.

HOW do I teach hopping? Teach hopping in isolation first so that students become familiar with the process of identifying larger number and decomposing smaller number by place value.  Use patterned, pre-labeled or open number lines until students can proficiently count and track hops (see examples). After proficiency is demonstrated, introduce an open number line where students determine the starting point then draw and label hops without support.

WHEN should I use hopping? This is an ideal strategy for developing mathematicians who have a solid place value and number sense foundation. It is most effective to introduce the hopping strategy after students become proficient with the counting strategy. When larger numbers are used, students quickly realize that counting becomes inefficient and laborious. Hopping allows students to employ counting skills they are comfortable with, but increases rigor and mathematical practice.

Supply models and provide kinesthetic practice.  Select appropriate number lines according to students’ individual needs. Some students will easily grasp hopping and will be able to use the open number line while others will need the patterned number line to see and count the 10’s and 1’s. Make a large patterned number line for kinesthetic learners and have them physically hop the numbers. Students will not only love this activity, the multi-modal approach reinforces learning.

Make Hailey pointers. Cut out and laminate Hailey patterns and use a hot glue gun to adhere to craft sticks. Students can use a Hailey pointer to hop the numbers in each problem.

Practice skip-counting. Some students struggle with skip counting and could benefit from repeated practice. Chanting by 100’s, 10’s and 1’s while walking in line, calendar time, even clean-up time all serve as great practice opportunities. Be sure to vary starting points so to ensure that students aren’t just counting by multiples of 100’s, 10’s or 5’s. (For example start at 57 and count by 10’s, then switch and count by 1’s.)

Be flexible with students’ hopping methods.  Remember, the whole point of teaching strategies is to help students become fluid, flexible thinkers with deep conceptual understanding. While Hailey teaches students to start with bigger number and hop by 10’s and then 1’s, do not insist that students need to only hop this way. It is imperative to allow them to experiment and try multiple methods in order to find the most meaningful and efficient hopping method for themselves. Some hop to the nearest multiple of 10 and then continue hopping by 10’s, while others hop by all of the 10’s in one hop. Accept all methods if students solve problem correctly, explain method and apply across settings.

### Meet Max Modeling Mouse

Greetings I’m Max the Modeling Mouse.
I solve problems by using things from my house.
Beans, cubes and counters are useful math gear;
Use them to model the problem so it’s clear.

Max Modeling Mouse is the first strategy animal in our Problem-Solving Pond: A Common Core Math Strategy Unit. The Problem-Solving Pond  was created to help teachers overcome Common Core math challenges and employ problem-solving strategies with confidence and fidelity.  Read more about Max’s strategy below or download the complete unit here.

WHAT is modeling?:  Students use manipulatives, counters or drawings to model, or represent the mathematics of the story problem.

WHY is modeling important?: By making a visual representation, students are able to see the situation presented in the problem.  Modeling is critical to student understanding as it allows students to see, feel and process math in a concrete way.

HOW do I teach modeling?:  Select appropriate manipulatives (beans, cubes, coins, place value rods) and make a visual model of story problem.  Write equation below the model to solidify understanding.

WHEN should I use modeling?:

This strategy is ideal for presenting a new mathematical operation.  Most teachers use this strategy with K-2 mathematicians, but this is also beneficial for older students as it works especially well with money, fractions, ratios and percentages. Modeling is a great way to double-check solutions because the visual representation increases understanding of the problem.

• Create rules and expectations. Before introducing manipulatives, establish rules and expectations for use. Explain the mathematicial purpose of them as well as how and when to use them. Practice essential routines such as getting out manipulatives, freezing at teacher’s signal (with hands-off manipulatives) and cleaning up quickly and quietly.

• Prepare manipulative bags. Count out specific manipulatives and store in individual Ziploc bags or small Tupperware containers so they are ready to use at any time.  These individual units can be stored in student desks or in a large container.

• Store manipulatives in a common area. Purchase an inexpensive storage container with shelves and house manipulatives here. Label each shelf and include a picture or glue on an example for student reference.

• Allow time for student exploration and play. Before students use the manipulatives as mathematicians, provide time for exploration and play. This will help students stay focused and use them correctly during math time.

Check out our other Problem-Solving Pond strategy animals coming soon:
–Drawing Dragonfly
–Counting Crocodile
–Hopping Hare
–Tabling Turtle
–Equating Earthworm
–Fact Fluency Fox

### Meet Sally the Sounding Out Snake

“SSSSSSSalutations! I’m Sally the Sounding Out Snake,
Stretch each sound out and a new word you will make
Put them back together in a blend
And your reading will be on the mend.”

It is so exciting when beginning readers start to blend individual sounds together to form words.  I remember how thrilling it was when both of my boys started to read in pre-school.  I marked the day in their baby books along with their first words, first steps, and first bike ride without training wheels.

I used Sally the Sounding Out Snake’s poem and graphic organizer to teach them how to segment and blend words for reading and spelling. This tool made reading multisensory as they were able to engage the visual, auditory and tactile senses.  After seeing such success with my boys, we brought Sally into the classroom and created supplemental lesson plans, additional graphic organizers, worksheets, and flashcards.  Our students experienced the same success in the classroom.

Your students can meet Sally too along with our other reading strategy animals in our complete Common Core Guided Reading Strategies Unit.

Individual supplemental Sally Sounding Out Snake units focus on a variety of one-syllable word combinations and are a great supplement to any general education, special education or intervention curriculum. This can be used during whole group, literacy centers, or as independent work.

Aligned with Common Core Literacy Standards in grades K-2, each unit includes the following activities and worksheets:

• Differentiated lesson plans for sounding out words
• Suggestions for use
• 4 Graphic organizers for decoding and spelling
• 7 Phonics worksheets for decoding and spelling
• Word lists for one-syllable words (sorted by vowel type)
• 32 Flashcards and activity ideas
• Sounding Out Snake poster and puppet graphic
• Decoding and Comprehension strategy poster
• 4 Sentence writing worksheets with word banks and editing checklist
• Customizable worksheets to allow for differentiation

Check out each “Common Core Phonics Activities for One-Syllable Words” unit below:

### Meet Charlie the Chunking Chipmunk

“What’s up? I’m Charlie the Chunking Chipmunk.
I help you break unknown words into small chunks.
Look for little words or sounds that you know,
Put them back together as a word and you’ll be the star of the show!”

Moving from decoding one syllable words to two and three syllable words can be very challenging for many students.  As students begin reading multi-syllabic words, it is important for them to know how to break words into units larger than individual sounds.  Charlie the Chunking Chipmunk gives students the skills and practice they need to become efficient at decoding longer words.

My students love when I bring out Charlie!  When using his strategy, they feel confident and encouraged to read “big” words in isolation and in context.  Our complete, 130 page, phonics unit includes activities, worksheets, and printables for the following syllable types: Closed, closed with blends, vowel-consonant-e, -le, open, r-controlled, digraphs and diphthongs. This unit is great for guided reading, intervention, independent review, reading centers and homework.

Aligned with Common Core Literacy Standards in grades K-3, this unit includes the following activities and worksheets:

• Differentiated lesson plan for chunking multisyllabic words
• Suggestions for use
• Graphic organizers for two and three syllable words
• Phonics worksheets for decoding two syllable words
• Word lists for multisyllabic words with various syllable patterns
• Flashcards and multi-sensory activity ideas
• Chunking chipmunk poster and puppet graphic
• Decoding and Comprehension strategy poster
• Sentence writing worksheets with word banks and editing checklist
• Customizable worksheets to allow for differentiation

Complete Unit Preview

Download here so you can introduce Charlie the Chunking Chipmunk to your students today!

### “Owl” Always Love You!

Looking for something for “owl” of the special people in your life? These six adorable owl-themed Valentine cards can be used for students, parents, volunteers, coworkers, friends and family. FREE for a limited time only!!!! Click on the the link below and simply print off on cardstock, cut-apart and write name of recipient.

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Owl-Themed-Valentine-Cards-541002

These cards are also great to use for lunchbox notes or love notes anytime your little ones need some extra TLC.  I put these notes in my boys’ lunches all throughout the year.

### FREE Butterfly KWL and Question & Answer Foldables

Looking for a cute spring bulletin board idea? Starting a butterfly life cycle study? Check out our new FREE download that includes:
–2 detailed lesson plans
–KWL butterfly foldable
–Pictures of student work samples

### Turn Your Students Into Mad Scientists

Science projects are the perfect way to promote inquiry-based thinking, teach critical Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and motivate the most reluctant learners. Science projects allow students to: participate in shared research and writing projects; gather information from provided sources to answer questions; participate in collaborative conversations; and describe the connection between a series of scientific ideas or concepts.

Follow these 5 easy steps and turn your students into mad scientists:

1. Select an engaging project that aligns with CCSS. My second grade class loves insects and they are required to study life cycles. So I created a life cycle of a painted lady butterfly unit for them.Older students can choose their projects to increase engagement and ownership.
2. Set up a science center in the classroom. I created a large bulletin board complete with science project question, hypotheses graph, calendar to track observations and a vocabulary graphic organizer. I also selected a wide variety of nonfiction text (correlated to my students’ current reading levels) to use during reading group and read-aloud time. During observations, students go to a small circular table to observe the caterpillars and record results in their science journals. Magnifying glasses, rulers, pencils and crayons are available at this table to assist with journaling.
3. Encourage dramatic role play. Scientists wear lab coats while working, why shouldn’t the students? I borrowed 5 white dress shirts from my dad, the perfect sized “lab coat” for my second grade students, rolled the sleeves and hung up at the science center. While students work at this center, they are allowed to wear the “lab coats” and they absolutely love it. They really focus on their work and are very precise and detailed with daily journal entries. I take pictures and use them for the interactive bulletin board (see below) and put one copy on the inside of the each student’s journal.
4. Create an interactive bulletin board. My students had several questions about caterpillars and butterflies and were eager to learn the answers. I used these questions to make a scientific bulletin board. First I made magnifying glasses using brown construction paper handles, green paper plates (from Target) and a white construction paper magnifying glass lens. We brainstormed and recorded a list of questions together and then I partnered students to record and answer questions. One student wrote the question on the handle of the magnifying glass, the other wrote the answer on the white magnifying lens and glued inside the green plate. I added their pictures on top and displayed on a prominent bulletin board.
5. Hold a science fair. When the experiment is over, students can make personalized invitations for families (and possibly other classes) to come learn about the scientific findings. During the science fair, students can share journals and science report as well as show specimens and other related projects. I always put out refreshments (cookies and juice) to create an inviting atmosphere.

Download our CCSS science journal to start your new unit!

### Your 2014 Fresh Start

These 5 easy tips are guaranteed to recharge your classroom and start your new year off on the right instructional foot.

1. Get organized: Purchase inexpensive book boxes to store center games, house student work portfolios and hold daily work. Target has several cute prints and patterns in a wide variety of colors. Print labels for easy organization. Revisit rules and procedures: Students need time to get back into school routines. Review rules and behavior expectations. Practice daily procedures such as lining up, walking quietly in line and transitioning from one activity to another. Turn this procedure practice into a game by timing class, encouraging them to beat previous practice times. Check out our Routines, Procedures and Transitions Toolkit for additional ideas on how to teach, model, practice and reinforce important systems and routines.
2. Encourage parental involvement:  During the first week of the new quarter, invite parents to help at school. This could be working with small groups, filing paperwork or prepping materials at school (or home). Work schedules often change after the holidays which can lead to new opportunities for parental involvement. Grandparents (and other relatives) often love helping in the classroom as well.
3. Planning ahead: Instead of waiting until Sunday afternoon to plan lessons for the week, use a planning template to create an overview of upcoming units, standards and activities. The template should serve as a working document, easily modified to accommodate instructional needs that might arise. This will save you endless hours of last minute preparation and put an end to stressful Sundays.
4. Work-life balance: Teaching can be all-consuming. Be mindful of your work-life balance. Schedule daily down-time into your calendar. This could be as simple as a bubble bath or 30 minutes of leisurely reading. Relaxation is critical and makes you a much happier, productive teacher.

### Top 12 Active Engagement Strategies

Use these tried and true active engagement strategies to strengthen motivation, increase achievement and infuse fun into any classroom:

1. Think-Pair-Share: Students partner up and take 1-2 minutes to think silently about an answer to a specific question. At the teacher’s signal, each student faces his/her partner and discuss questions together. At the signal, students share responses discussed.

2. Quick Write: Students use white boards to write a specific response for an allotted amount of time. This can be used to activate prior knowledge, provide reflection or make connections.

3. 5-10 Word Summary: In 10 words or less, students summarize key details of the lesson or specific text.

4. Ticket Out Door: Write down 1 or 2 ideas learned from the lesson on a Post-It and how it will be used in other activities.

5. Partner Teach: Students pick partners; partners take turns teaching each other 2 most important items learned from the lesson.

6. Spectrum: Place a line of masking tape on the floor. Label one end “Strongly Agree” and the other end “Strongly Disagree.” Students line up according to their opinion of the topic. Students could also write their name on a small Post-It and place accordingly on the masking tape strip.

7. Four Corners: The teacher posts questions, photos, etc. in the four corners of the room. The teacher assigns each student to a corner. Once in the assigned corner, students discuss the question or photo in the corner. Students rotate through each of the four corners, repeating the process.

8. Jigsaw: Students read different passages from the same text or selections from several texts. After reading the passage, they take on the role of an “expert” with the passage. The “experts” share the information from their specific reading with a designated group or the entire class.

9. Get One, Give One: Students write their names on the top of a piece of paper and list 3 to 5 ideas about the assigned topic. Each student will draw a line after his/her last idea to separate ideas from other classmates. Discuss responses together.

10. Talking Chips: The teacher will pose a question for the students to discuss. Each student is given a “chip.” Each student takes turns “talking” by placing his/her chip into the center of the table. The first person to talk may only talk at that time and may not speak again until all the group members have placed their “chip” in the middle. Repeat the process with the rest of the group members.

11. Fishbowl: This strategy allows students to engage in a formal discussion and experience roles both as a participant and active listener. Students must also support their opinions and responses using specific evidence from the text. Students will be placed in two circles: 1. Inner circle students will model appropriate discussion techniques. 2. Outer circle students will listen, respond and evaluate.

12. Charades: Students can act out specific vocabulary or characters from read-alouds (i.e. “gnaw” students can pretend to chew).

Download our FREE Top 10 Tools for Back to School unit and our Back to School Toolbox: Routines, Procedures, and Transitions for additional active engagement strategies and much more!

### Letterman to the Rescue!

Children love superheroes so what better way to engage them in writing than with a Friendly Letter Superhero? In this customizable unit, Letterman comes to visit each day, bringing a letter that teaches a specific friendly letter skill. He leaves colorful L’s on the classroom door to signal his visits. Children truly believe in him and even your most reluctant learners will get excited about writing!

This 66 page unit includes:
–Suggestions for use with pictures of letter bulletin boards and work samples
–Common Core standards for grades K-3
–Big ideas and essential questions
–11 detailed lesson plans to teach unit
–Accompanying letters and activities for each lesson plan (Letters can be modified according to date unit is taught, teacher’s name, children’s interests, etc.)
–Stationary
–Pre-and post-assessment
–Rubric
–2 different Letterman templates
–Colorful L’s to leave around room
–Letterman awards

This is a great Back to School unit; through letter writing, children will learn about each other and build classroom community.

### The Costliest Mistake Teachers Can Make

With the implementation of Common Core standards and performance-based pay, teachers are under more pressure to perform than ever. Every minute must be devoted to instruction, causing teachers to cut any activity not directly aligned to standards.

This intense pressure starts at the beginning of the year, a vital time to set expectations and establish procedures and routines, or tight transitions. The costliest mistake teachers make is to introduce academics too early without laying the foundation for tight transitions. Many think they are saving time or getting a jump-start on the year; but in reality, this is costing them their most valuable resource—time. Sounds contradictory doesn’t it? Time wasted in poor transitions equates to a great loss of instructional time. It’s the difference between finishing a lesson effectively and running out of time without recapping or closing the lesson, a critical component of effective lessons. Furthermore, messy transitions often invite misbehavior and other disruptions that require teacher redirection, a loss of time. Tightening transitions saves up to 10 minutes daily, which equates to hours of instructional time throughout the year.

It took me years to perfect the art of teaching tight transitions. At first, I couldn’t understand how students didn’t know how to line up—it’s such a simple concept. Why couldn’t they quietly put their materials away or quickly meet at the carpet? After a great deal of professional reading and help from fellow teachers, I realized that I need to explicitly model and teach these transitions starting from day one.

I’ve created the Back to School Teacher Toolbox: Routines, Procedures and Transitions to help all teachers with the critical process. This Toolbox contains engaging, colorful resources and activities that explain how to teach, model, practice, and reinforce important systems and routines throughout the year.

Check out our next week’s Back to School blog: The Do’s & Don’ts of Classroom Management.

### Start Back to School Right – Avoid These Top 5 Missteps

Back to School Night can seem so scary, even for veteran teachers. Possible scenarios might be running through your mind…parent heckles you, no one shows up, toddler screams during presentation, etc. Make Back to School Night your first step in building a positive culture with your parents.  Avoid these 5 teacher behaviors to ensure a successful Back to School Night.

1. The Long Lecture: Each year as I prepare my Back to School Night presentation, I always want to add as much information as possible to make sure parents understand policies, procedures and expectations. The reality is less is more. Parents simply want to meet you, get a feel for the room and take home quality handouts that they can refer back to in their leisure.  Keep your presentation short and simple (less than 10 minutes).

2. The Condescending Tone: Although I want to explain everything clearly for parents, I always make sure to be mindful of my tone. Education is a partnership and you want to make parents feel that they are valuable members of the team.

3. The Teacher Jargon: If I had a dollar for every teacher acronym, I could retire. Stay away from these terms with parents, they are confusing and overwhelming. It leaves parents with more questions than answers and they will tune you out.

4. The Frigid Welcome: Nerves can come off as coldness or arrogance. Remember to smile and greet each parent and student with genuine interest. Take time to listen to and respond to questions. This is your chance to make a good first impression and it will set the stage for the rest of the year. Even after 10 years, I get nervous. I find it helpful to take deep breaths and think positive thoughts.

5. The Unprepared Classroom: Parents can easily tell which teachers took the time and effort to prepare for Back to School Night and which ones just showed up. Welcome parents with refreshments, handouts and an activity for students to complete.

Need help getting ready for Back to School and Curriculum Night? Our  Welcome Back to School Customizable Parent Packet & Curriculum Night Guide covers it all!  These forms and letters include everything needed for the beginning of the year from curriculum and grading to student information card and parent directory.  All are customizable, allowing you to make quick and easy changes to make appropriate for your classroom.

### Top Ten Tools for Back to School!

The new school year means endless meetings, countless hours of preparation and the dreaded Curriculum Night…all resulting in major stress! Let Astute Hoot: Tools for the Wise Teacher alleviate your pressure with our FREE Top 10 Tools for Back to School. As veteran teachers, we understand the tension that Back to School time brings and are here to help. Our FREE unit includes:

• Essential Back to School checklist
• Golden Keys to Success classroom behavior management plan with parent brochure
• Interactive lesson plans
• Effective routines, procedures and transitions

Download our FREE back to school unit here.

Checklist Preview

### Science Journal Promotes Inquiry-Based Learning

Check out teacherspayteachers.com to purchase our new Science Journal that promotes inquiry-based learning, teaches crucial scientific skills and procedures and motivates even the most reluctant learners!  This journal includes:

–Forms to complete the Scientific Process
–12 observation boxes, complete with space to diagram and record date and time
–Graph paper for data collection
–A blank calendar to record changes or growth
–A vocabulary bank
–Optional Science Center activity: a graphic organizer used to record bulleted notes/observations during center time. These notes will help guide the completion of a full journal entry.

Check out pictures of completed observations and a sample of a Science Center.

### NEW! Hazel’s Reading Roost Visits the Black Lagoon

Are you looking for an engaging literature study aligned to Common Core Standards? Do your students need motivation to read and write? If so, Hazel’s Reading Roost Visits the Black Lagoon is the unit for you!

In this 80 page unit, students use Hazel’s Woodland Strategy Animals (Sharon, Summarizing Squirrel, Quinn, Questioning Quail, Chloe, Connecting Coyote and many more) to analyze Black Lagoon structure along with key literary elements. This unit includes specific lessons/activities aligned to Common Core Standards including:
–Comparing and contrasting
–Sequencing
–Making text connections
–Retelling
–Analyzing character traits
–Reading twin texts (nonfiction lagoon texts)
–Reading functional text (two Black Lagoon recipes)
–Planning, drafting, editing and revising new Black Lagoon story (detailed rubric included)
–Sorting words into parts of speech lagoons

This unit also includes a parent letter introducing the unit, homework and center activities and two Black Lagoon comprehension tests. Check it out on our Teachers Pay Teachers page ! http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Black-Lagoon-Literature-Study-Aligned-to-Common-Core-Standards

### Fall Break and games for children

It is that time of year that we as teachers celebrate; FALL BREAK. This time of year gives us a chance to focus on where we have been and the fun times that are coming. Getting ready for holidays in the classroom brings as much excitement to our students as it does to children at home. It is a great idea to use this time to let them take a break from studies but at the same time it is not a good idea to forget the academic all together. I have attached to this a website that will allow this to happen. This website has pages to print out and then color as well as crafts to do. It also contains interactive online games that teach and reinforce concepts that have been introduced in the primary grades classrooms. Have fun exploring at  http://www.primarygames.com/seasons/fall/fall_fun.htm

### Hoot and Holler for Owl Classroom Decor

“OWL” teachers must create an inviting, engaging environment where learners feel comfortable and safe. Branch out from the typical teacher-store bulletin boards with our customized owl templates and bulletin board quotes. Template size can be modified in order to use in a variety of ways–center icons, magnets, labels and classroom decor. Check out these inexpensive templates at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Owl-Classroom-Clip-Art-and-Bulletin-Board-Ideas.

### Visual Schedule

Are your mornings hectic, frazzled, or full of frustration? Try making a visual schedule to break down all of the steps. Use photos or clip art as a visual cue. Kids can refer to the chart to see what they need to do. No more nagging needed! 🙂 Our mornings are so much smoother using this simple tool.  I also made a “Bedtime Routine” visual schedule.

### Syllable Division

Here is a multi-sensory syllable division bulletin board I made in my classroom.  Chunking Chipmunk from our Hazel Learns to Read unit helps students follow the syllabication rules to chunk words into smaller parts for decoding.  I used pipe cleaners to show how to “scoop” the words.  Students can walk up to the bulletin board and trace the scoops with their fingers while reading the words.  Using visual, auditory, and tactile senses really helps the students internalize this important reading strategy.

### Hoo is Ready for School? SALE

Do you have preschoolers getting reading for kindergarten? Did you know that children not only need to know how to name their letters, but also name the sounds, blend sounds together to form words, segment the individual sounds in words, and rhyme words together in kindergarten? Our “Hoo is Ready for School?’ flashcards will prepare your child for school and reading success! Our research-based, teacher created, flashcards are currently on sale for \$5.99 on our website.

### Test Prep Center

Motivate students to prepare for upcoming standardized tests with the creation of a fun, engaging test prep center. I created “The Standardized Testing Swamp” in my classroom. Both Tina Turtle, Troubled Test Taker and Frankie, Fumbling Fox, are posted at the center, along with test-taking tips and strategies. Test prep centers, games and activities are also housed in this special center. For even more ideas, check out Astute Hoot’s comprehensive motivational test prep unit at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/search?keyword=astute+hoot+test+prep&subjectarea=0&startsearch=1

### Standardized Testing Good Luck Hands (Khamsas)

Looking for a fun art project to motivate and encourage students for standardized testing? Make khamsas, or good luck hands. Khamsas have been used in northern Africa for centuries–most are made out of silver or gold and embellished with gemstones or elaborate scroll work.

Students can make this colorful art project with aluminum foil, glitter, sequins and Sharpies. Students simply trace their hands on aluminum foil, then cut out and decorate with given supplies. Foil khamsas can be glued on brightly colored cardstock for extra durability. Hang together for a beautiful, easy bulletin board.

Check out other motivating test prep activities and lessons created by Astute Hoot: Games That Teach at

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Standardized-Test-Prep-Unit