16 days......That's how many school days are left until the first End of Grade (EOG) test at my school. Now if that number quickens your pulse or causes you to feel anxious, you are not alone! I think most teachers, administrators, and school counselors are feeling a little overwhelmed at this time of year (or a lot!) because there is SO MUCH to do between now and the final day of school. I, for one, just finished coordinating the final MAP assessments at my school for second through fifth grade students and now am trying to fit in all of my school counseling interventions before the next wave of testing hits. Luckily, I have a fantastic co-counselor who is able to keep our comprehensive school counseling program on track during the testing times. One of our ASCA (American School Counselor Association) plans this year is focused on creating small EOG groups for students who did not pass the third or fourth grade EOG the first time but did pass it the second time. We figure those students are on the cusp of passing and our extra attention and support may be enough to help them pass on the first try.
I used EOG initial and retest data to create the fourth and fifth grade groups. My school had 15 fourth graders and 14 fifth graders that fit into our target group. My co-counselor sent parent permission letters home and we planned a 4-5 session group, depending on how quickly we can get through each topic.
My co-counselor made each student a small group book (something I do for every small group I run) so that they would have the information in a handy reference guide and could remember what we talked about after our group was over. The groups are being run during recess time and lunch time, depending on the grade level. The main topics we are focusing on are:
- Routines for the nights before and days of the EOG (foods to eat, how to dress, when to go to bed and wake up)
- Multiple Choice Strategies
- Coping strategies if you get nervous
The Test Plan
Each student has the opportunity to visualize and construct their ideal plan for EOG testing days after we discuss each topic. By the end of the group, the test plan will be completely filled out and ready for students to review on the days leading up to the EOG. We also encourage students to share their test plan with their parents so everyone can be on the same page on EOG days.
The EOG Fortune Teller
Even if we don't have enough time to complete AND fold the fortune teller in group, it is a FUN and EASY way to review all the strategies we have brainstormed in group. The kids LOVE these paper games, and I have used them with everything from EOGs to conflict resolution strategies to friendship skills. The students often will take them to recess and help each other fold them after they have filled out each triangle in group. You can find an editable template here.
"I Have, Who Has?" Vocab Game
Icebreakers, games, and other fun activities keep EOG small groups from being another classroom lesson for kids whose favorite thing is probably NOT talking about tests during their recess or lunch period. This vocabulary game emphasizes the keywords that students should be paying attention to, underlining, or circling when reading passages or word problems on the EOG. You can make your own game by picking 25 common EOG vocabulary words. Decide which word you will start the game with. For example, you might put "In All" on the front of the card. On the back you would write "I have In All. Who has the word that is the answer to an addition or multiplication problem"? The person with the word PRODUCT would stand up, show their word and read the back of their card. "I have product. Who has the word that is a number sentence"? Then, "I have equation....." and so on until every student has the chance to stand up one or two times (depending on if you are using this game for a guidance lesson or small group). The last person will say "The End" after they have shown the last word. Kids get to stand up and down, everyone talks, and they have to pay attention to which word is being defined so it's a really engaging game!
End of Group Encouragers
Leave it to Pinterest to have the best ideas for encouraging and motivating students during the EOGs. In our last session, my co-counselor and I will give a little treat to our small group students for working so hard to prepare themselves for the EOG. Here are some of my favorites:
I also found THE BEST website called Keep Calm-O-Matic where you can create your very own "Keep Calm" poster and order other merchandise, too. How cute will this image be on some postcard-sized cardstock with a positive thought message on the back from the school counselor???? Maybe the EOGs won't be so bad after all!