You ‘ve probably seen the look on your students’ faces…that look of **utter despair**.

Another test prep worksheet!

Let’s say **goodbye to boring test prep**. No matter the test you have to give, good instruction is still good instruction!

In this post, I will give you four teaching strategies that promote **critical thinking** in fun and engaging ways!

### Four Corners

This tried and true strategy requires **no preparation**! Students will complete a multiple choice practice page. Then you will give instructional feedback on the questions. But…

…Instead of students falling asleep at their desks, they will **walk to the four corners** of the room to represent their chosen answer. Each corner is labeled with either an A, B, C, or D.

The best part of this activity is the** formative assessment feedback** you receive. You can quickly see which questions were difficult. Then ask guiding questions to help students develop better understanding.

**Tips to make this strategy better:**

- Give bonus points on the paper if students can answer additional questions such as, why is B wrong? How did you prove your answer? Why is C a good distractor?
- When students are in their corners, have them silently look on their neighbors paper to “police” the corner…make sure everyone is in the corner of their answer choice.
- Be careful not to drag this activity out for too long. The physical participation can result in off-task behavior if you extend past students’ attention spans.

### Test Question Slapdown

In our previous post about **Test Question Slapdown **we explained this teaching strategy in detail. Here’s the skinny:

- This strategy focuses on analyzing test questions. It promotes deep thinking.
- It’s a
**total participation strategy**where everyone is involved and physically active. - It gives the teacher instant formative data to guide instructional
**feedback and questioning**. - The only prep is a set of four index cards for each student. They are labeled A, B, C, D to correspond with the answer choices. Students “slap down” on the answer choice, and you can see what they chose.

**Teaching Tips:**

- Instead of simply asking, “What answer did you choose?” ask “What is the worst answer choice?” Follow up with, “Why?” Also ask, “What is the best distractor?”
- Keep the index cards in plastic bags. One bag per table group. This makes it
**quick and easy to manage**the materials. - Let the students prepare the cards. Give each student two index cards. They cut them in half. Then label them.
**No prep for you**!

### Prove it or Lose it

Are students *not* using strategies? Are they *not* showing their work?

This **strategy is a fun way to motivate** them to do the strategic work required in any subject. It’s simple. They either prove it, or they lose it! Here’s how:

- Use a short practice activity, either independent or cooperative practice. It has to be a short practice and non-consequential.
- Students must prove their work just like you teach them how. If they don’t prove it, they lose it –
**you crumble the paper and throw it away!** - When done in a fun way and non-threatening way,
**students love it!** - You could also plan and provide some sort of motivation like team points, edibles, or lunch with the teacher. At the end of the week students who have the
**most pages complete (not thrown away) win the reward!**

### Half & Half

Take a multiple-choice test and narrow the answer choices down to two. Leave the best distractor and the correct answer. In this learning activity, split the room in half using desks or a piece of tape. Follow these simple steps:

- Students will go to the center of the room with a test question or questions.
- They all work on the same question, either projected, on student devices, or on paper.
- Each half of the room represents an answer choice. After the time to work over, you say, “Half & Half.”
- Yes, say those words actually help
**students feel like it’s more fun**…don’t ask me – but it’s true. - Students move to the side of the room that represents their answers (just like in four corners).
- Students who get the answer right explain their answer first.
- Then students who got it wrong, explain where the mistake was made.
- You can use a random name generator to pick on student from each half to explain.

This works great for any subject. **It’s quick. It’s active.**

Students love to participate, and there are only two rules that you really need to have:

1) respect personal space.

2) no talking during the movement.

I’m not sure why these activities are so engaging! They can be** very rigorous** and they are just **easy-to-use**.

I wonder what strategies you use. Have you used any of these strategies? How did it work? What strategies do you have that are better than these? Please share or **find more engaging teaching strategies** in theses related posts:

**Increase Student Interest with Physical Movement****Games and Student Interest in Learning****27 Teaching Ideas for 2017**