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March 29, 2013


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Cindy Cochran


Marlene M. Harris (@marlenemharris)

Very interesting! Formerly I taught 9th grade Accelerated students but now teach 8th graders. Like you I realized the importance of transitioning 8th graders. One area that I have worked on is test time management. In our system, we have 75 minute classes in 8th grade but only 55 minutes in high school. High school teachers have commented that students have a hard time completing tests in the shorter time period. Second semester, I begin taking up tests at 60 minutes. We work on test taking skills such as not spending too much time on one question and being practiced and prepared (there is no time to re-discover concepts on a test). Thanks so much for your ideas on the matter. I love the idea of having them create a concept map and plan to implement this next year.

Marsha Ratzel

Dear Marlene,
Thanks for your reply.

I hadn't really considered time management....but it is important. "Back in the day", we used to teach a strategy called PIRATES. I can't remember what each letter stands for now, but one of them was to go thru, preview the test and plan out how much time you'd spend on each part. Time management was a part of that....and it really worked. I'm going to go back and try to pull that up. Great reminder and if I get the acryonmn down, I'll post it.

Karen H

Your test study skills are valuable and I would encourage teachers of younger students to implement them also. I teach advanced 5th grade math and feel it is important to teach students how to prepare for tests. I use these ideas, modeling them for every unit with a gradual shift to student independence in test prep during the course of the year. One additional technique that my students have noted to be helpful is that once the concepts have been identified, small groups of 2 or 3 students take one concept and teach it/review it for the class.


I love the concept map idea. Does anyone have an example or two they would care to share?

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