Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Test Taking Strategy: Key, Magnifying Glass, Ruler

This is a fun strategy for teaching students to attack multiple choice questions. I created it last year when I saw that many of my students were impulsively circling any old answer that kind of went along with the text. For these students, the task of reading the multiple choice question is a huge cognitive load. How could I help them?

I decided to create a simple mnemonic tied to concrete objects. Just like the "click and clunk" strategy, I wanted something that would teach itself. Once students know the objects, they can draw them at the top of every test. Then they can use the objects to help them as they answer the questions.
These strategies work for most questions. Best of all, they give kids a place to start when confronted with a page of multiple choice questions!

Because I wanted to give students some practice, I made up some daily warm-up activities. There is one text per week, with a question for each day. So far, it's just the right amount of test prep--about 5 minutes each day, with a short discussion, and then it's on to better things!

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