- Prepare ELA students for testing season by using Everyday Edits, CommonLit, Newsela, Wonderopolis, and NoRedInk.
- You can use these resources in your classroom as soon as tomorrow.
5 Resources to Get ELA Students Ready for Testing Season
So here we are. It is the beginning of the dreaded testing season. We all need a vacation from our vacation. For many, after spring break is a two-and-a-half-month desert of school days with nothing but testing. A wide range of high-stakes testing seems to begin around February and doesn’t let up until AP tests end in May.
While your curriculum is the star of the show, as an ELA teacher, I am often counted on to pull resources to help small groups or tutor. Finding quality inexpensive resources is a challenge. Here are 5 places that I have used extensively through the years that I can add to most ELA curricula to fill in holes that students seem to have when it comes to testing.Whatever you use to help your students during this time, remember to assure them that no test measures the soft skills that improve character, and communicating effectively is a valuable practice no matter what a test says. Click To Tweet
Everyday Edits by Education World
Everyday Edits by Education World: These little gems can be used as a warm-up or even a competition. There are always 10 edits that are split monthly so you can choose the date or the topic. The reading level is relatively low so you can use them in 4th grade to high school. With my high school students, I introduced the edits to the class and made a game out of who could find the errors the fastest. I would then be able to pull the skills they missed and focused on the grammar they didn’t quite know.
CommonLit: The ever-increasing library probably has something that you are studying or they have a great paired text resource. Currently in Texas, where I am, our state test is changing to include new question types with multiple and two-part answers as well as short-answer responses. CommonLit has included them for years. Most of their resources are free; you can get reports to reinforce skills or track data.
Newsela and Wonderopolis
Newsela and Wonderopolis: My students don’t always test well in informational texts. Two great resources are Newsela, a daily news resource that gives you an LMS to assign work (there is a paid version), and Wonderopolis. Both feature short informational texts that have a variety of resources paired with them. I’m working on resources for speaking and listening in the Emergent Bilingual space. While geared for more of a tween audience, Wonderopolis is a great tool to use as practice for TELPAS, ELPAC, WIDA, or whatever your state uses for English language proficiency and growth. There are multiple ways students can access text from pictures paired with the information and sometimes even videos to give instructions and how-tos.[scroll down to keep reading]
NoRedInk: Finally, NoRedInk has a free and paid version. I find that when I am tutoring, I want grammar resources that give students grammar in context rather than identifying things like nouns or direct objects. I want my students to have practice changing the spelling or putting the comma in the right place. NoRedInk allows students to both select their topics (it has dated Disney and Nickelodeon references, but SpongeBob is always a winner). Their sentences seem more personal and students literally see their own names in the sentences.
Whatever you use to help your students during this time, remember to assure them that no test measures the soft skills that improve character, and communicating effectively is a valuable practice no matter what a test says.
About Meghan Wells
Meghan Wells is a high school teacher in the DFW area. After spending almost a decade in retail management and the financial services industry, Meghan has enjoyed education for the last 14 years putting a tech spin on all secondary levels of Language Arts. Inspired by her 10 year old son, she has coached First Lego League, high school Esports, and continues to cultivate the (non ELA) interests of her young engineer. When she is not geeking out on edu or ed tech, you can find her reading a book, watching hours of home improvement shows, listening to true crime podcasts, or what she likes to call “serial crafting”.