When I first began teaching, I naively thought that teaching my students test taking skills was something that a teacher did the month or two before the test was given. Yes, I knew we taught the skills all year long which helped with the test. But, students also needed to understand how to navigate the format in which they were being tested. Once I figured out how to incorporate small mini-lessons throughout my other lessons during the year, I found my students and I were less stressed. The end results were better test results.
Every year when I would get my test results there were always a few surprises. Students who seemed very bright and capable did not show it on the test. These were my students who always seemed to be in overdrive. They saw every assignment as a race to see who could complete it first. No matter how many times I told them that schoolwork was not an Olympic event, they worked like they were training for the Olympics.
One of the teams I was on used a term called “steal and slide” when answering reading comprehension questions. Students would steal words from the question and slide them into the answer. Since many students play little league baseball, this term caught (pun intended) their attention. This isn’t an original strategy. Many teachers tell their students to use words from the question in their answer. It is something about the baseball inspired term that seems to help them remember. Using steal and slide, slows down those Olympian workers who now have to look for those important words in a question like not. That one little word can make a big difference in a question.
I have used this strategy with students as young as first grade. With those students I found I had to modify it somewhat. I modeled it much longer. I read a picture book to the class. I taped one question at a time on a chart tablet. We brainstormed how to answer the question using steal and slide. Then we wrote the answer together. I had a volunteer circle the words in the answer and question that we stole.
My friend Fern and I made a freebie packet for you using the steal and slide strategy. Fern uses steal and slide to solve math word problems. My lessons are reading comprehension questions about the book, Tacky and the Winter Games. I thought this would be fun lesson to do this time of year with the Olympics right around the corner. I know many of you have penguin units planned, too.
Click HERE to download this freebie.