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Testing season is just around the corner, and if you are anything like me, you are probably wondering how you can get your students ready for their end-of-the-year assessments without boring them to tears. Trust me, I have been there! Test prep can be exhausting for both you and your students. But fear not because, in this blog post, I am sharing with you my six favorite websites for test prep. These websites for test prep are all free and easy to use. The best part? Your students will love them!
But before we dive into this week’s blog post, have you seen my FREE teaching strategies guide for dual-language teachers? In this guide, I am sharing nine teaching strategies that will help you set your students on a path towards biliteracy and bilingualism. These are strategies you can start implementing immediately and see amazing results. Click here to get your own copy of the free guide. You can thank me later!
What are websites for test prep?
But before we begin talking about these websites, you may be wondering… What does she mean by websites for test prep? When I talk about websites for test prep, I am referring to apps and websites that I can use in the classroom to practice test questions and test-taking skills in a fun and engaging way.
Why should we use websites for test prep?
If we are not careful, test prep can become a boring and laborious task for our students. When that happens, students disengage. So instead, we need to find exciting activities that will keep our students learning while having fun.
Research shows over and over again that learning through play is one of the best ways to help our students develop the skills they need to be successful. So, needless to say, it is crucial that we look for innovative ways to gamify our classroom.
How can these websites help students be successful?
Games are great tools to lower anxiety in the classroom. Many students struggle with testing not because they don’t know the content, but because their anxiety makes it harder for them to focus and access their knowledge. Through games, students are often more willing to try and less afraid to make mistakes. After all, games are about having fun!
Whenever we play games in the classroom, I often like to divide students into groups because that promotes discussion. It is not about getting the most points and winning. It is about learning. And students can learn so much from one another. Therefore, giving students chances to work together, discuss their ideas, and come up with a group answer is very beneficial to their learning.
Six best apps and websites for test prep
In this blog post, I wanted to share with you a list of some of my favorite websites for test prep. I am sure you have heard about some of these before, while others are probably brand new to you. I am also sharing some of the reasons why I love these apps and websites for test prep, so you can choose the one that best fits your needs. Better yet, you can keep your kids on their toes by trying all of these.
This is probably one of the most known websites for test prep. I have even seen this website being used during professional development sessions to increase engagement. I love Kahoot because it is so easy to set up. Just type your questions and answer choices, and voila! They also have a large selection of Kahoots created by other teachers that you can use for free.
The one thing that is important to keep in mind with Kahoot is that it is a timed game. When I teach my students test-taking strategies, I remind them to take their time. So how do I reconcile these two things?
⭐ increase the time limit – you can give students up to four minutes per question
⭐ choose questions that can be answered quickly. I love Kahoot to practice grammar skills.
⭐ remind students that getting the right answer is more important than rushing to answer.
At the end of each game, teachers can view a report that shows how each student or group performed. This is a great formative assessment tool.
One of the downfalls of Kahoot is that students don’t see the questions and answer choices on their own devices, so you must project them on the board. That can be an issue if you don’t have a projector in your classroom.
Quizziz is another great website for test prep. It is very similar to Kahoot, but with some added features that Kahoot doesn’t yet have. Some of these features are:
⭐ The timer can be turned off. This is huge for test prep!
⭐ Students can see the questions and answer choices on their own devices. This was very helpful during virtual learning because my students didn’t have to switch between my screen and the game screen.
Just like Kahoot, with Quizziz you will have access to a detailed report that can be used as formative assessment.
Blooket is relatively new, but many teachers swear by it. I haven’t had a chance to use it with my students yet, but I have played around with it on my own to check out some of the features. I must say… I am pretty impressed!
With Blooket, students will answer multiple-choice questions and earn tokens that they can then use to upgrade their avatar. There are multiple games to choose from. Some require students to answer questions quickly and accurately to earn the most points, while others require students to be more strategic about their answers. I like the different games because, as I said earlier, I don’t like to encourage students to answer too quickly. I want them to focus on accuracy.
Keep in mind that although Booklet does give you a report at the end of each game, it is very limited unless you have the paid version. I would not choose Blooket if you are looking for ways to assess your students.
Plickers is probably my favorite of all the websites for test prep mentioned in this blog post. I love Plickers because it is so simple to use and so much fun for the kids. I also get immediate feedback with Plickers, which is great when I am trying to determine who needs help right away. I also like that students don’t need devices with Plickers. All they need are cards which you can easily print from their website.
How to use Plickers
To use Plickers, you will first visit their website and enter all your students’ names into it. Each student will be assigned a specific number that corresponds to their unique Plicker card. You will then print each Plicker card and hand it out to your students. Make sure the right kid gets the right card. Students will use these cards to answer questions.
Type any multiple-choice or true and false questions you want to ask your students on the website. Students will choose their answers by holding up their Plicker cards. Each side of their Plicker card has an answer choice (A, B, C, and D.) Students answer each question by rotating their cards to have the correct answer choice facing up. Each card also has a black-and-white image in the center that looks like a QR code. The teacher, using a phone or tablet, scans the image on each Plicker card to record the students’ answers. As you scan each card, you can see which students answered the question correctly.
Some of the reasons why I love Plickers are:
⭐ It is not a timed game. We can take as long as we need to answer each question.
⭐ Instant feedback. Right away I know which students need help.
⭐ By choosing the correct settings, I am now the only person who sees my students’ answers. This is perfect for students who struggle with self-confidence issues.
⭐ Plickers is not a game, so it is great if you have a class that struggles with competitive games.
I love playing Jeopardy with my students! It is a great way to group students and have them discuss and agree on an answer. I also love it because students don’t need to have their own devices.
In the past, I have created Jeopardy games on PowerPoint for my classroom. But I recently came across Jeopardy Labs. Jeopardy Labs makes it much easier to create a Jeopardy board game that you can play with your students, making it one of my favorite websites for test pre.
With Jeopardy Labs, all you have to do is add the questions you want students to answer and the correct answer choice. It is perfect if you don’t want to give your students multiple-choice questions. Jeopardy Labs is also very user-friendly. You don’t even have to create an account!
Check out Jeopardy Labs if you:
⭐ want an easy-to-use, quick to set up option for test prep
⭐ don’t want to give students multiple-choice questions
⭐ want students to work in groups
⭐ want a game option that doesn’t require students to have their own devices
Have you ever played a low-tech game in your classroom but wanted ways to give it a little oomph? If you answered yes, then this is the website for you! Keep the score is an easy-to-use, no-fuss website to help you… well, keep the score! I found this website on a whim, just searching away on Google. But I am so glad that I did! Keep the Score meets a very simple but real need in the classroom, and I am here for it!
Use Keep the Score to:
⭐ keep track of points earned by different teams during a single test prep game
⭐ keep track of points earned over a week or month-long test prep challenge.
There you have it…
…six of my favorite apps and websites for test prep in upper elementary. I love to incorporate these fun tools in my classroom to increase engagement as we prepare for the state assessments. Do you have any fun tools that you use in your own classroom? I would love to hear about your favorite websites for test prep in the comments.