Ideas for PSSA Motivation Bulletin Boards

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In Pennsylvania, students in the third through eighth grades, along with those in 11th grade, take the PSSA, or Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, test. This test is a standards-based assessment that measures students' progress toward mastery of content knowledge. To increase the likelihood that your students do well on this test, get them motivated for success. One way to effectively motivate your learners is through the creations of notice boards.

Smart Cookies Board

Show your students just how smart you think they are by making a "Smart Cookies" board. To prepare this board, cover your board surface with a plaid tablecloth. Create cookie cut-outs. Write each student's name on a cut-out, and attach them around the board surface. Place the words "We're Smart Cookies" in the centre of the board.

PSSA Challenge Questions

Make your motivation board an interactive one by placing challenge questions around it. Type out challenge questions similar to those that students may face on the PSSA on sheets of paper. Gather these questions by reviewing the sample questions provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, or compose your own questions relating to the standards for your subject area and grade level. On separate sheets, write the answers. Staple these to your board, placing the answers on the board first, and then attaching the sheets containing the questions over top of the answer in a way that students can lift the paper and reveal their answers. Encourage students to visit the board and build their knowledge.

Reach for the Stars

Refresh students' memories on basic facts that could come in handy on the PSSA and motivate them to do their best on the test through this engaging notice board. Cover your board surface with black fabric or paper. Cut the words "Reach for the Stars on the PSSA" out of white paper by hand or using a die-cut machine. Attach these words in the centre of the board. Purchase pre-cut metallic stars, or cut your own from metallic paper. On each star, write a content-area fact that will be useful on the PSSA test. For example, if you are preparing students for the 8th grade PSSA in reading, your may include the definition of a simile on one of the stars, as this information is one of the things that students may be tested on. Staple these information-rich stars around your board.

Why Try? Board

While taking the PSSA test may not be the most exciting thing your students do, there are some definite reasons to put effort into the test. Remind your students of reasons why they should give the PSSA their all with a "Why Try?" board. To create this board, cover the board surface in fabric or paper. Choose an image of a child with his head down on his desk or looking less-than-motivated with a bored expression on his face. Type out the words "Why Try?" and make cards of cardstock featuring these words. Give each student a card, and ask him to write at least one reason why he should try. If students struggle to come up with reasons why the test is important, help them out by giving them suggestions such as, "Doing well on the test shows future teachers how smart you are" and "High test scores will make your parents proud." Place the student-completed cards on the board surface.

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