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Monday Mapping: Test Prep without the Multiple Choice

When my district first started forcing Test Prep sessions on us for state testing, we had free reign to design those sessions as we pleased.  Knowing my students needed the most practice in analyzing primary sources and in evaluating images, I started creating assignments for them to practice those skills while reviewing our course content.  Years later, the shift moved toward practicing only multiple choice, but in the end, the benefits of practicing with open ended response prompts are evident!


The Benefits of Open Response
Open ended responses allow students to think through their answers, and more importantly, it teaches them to think before they begin to write their response.

Another, greater, value is allowing students the opportunity to actually look at the source, making judgments on their own first, before reading possible answers in a multiple choice set.  This turns on the analysis process in our brains, and helps us to recall skills and content as we step through the stages of thought.


However, the greatest benefit to prepping with primary source analysis materials is the fact that students are practicing so many skills in one.

Skills to Practice with Primary Sources
Addressing standards can be a challenge in the Social Studies classroom, but in using primary sources students can do so much more:
  • Examine images
  • Read and evaluate quotes
  • Determine meaning and data in charts and graphs
  • Use maps for navigation and evaluation
  • Read passages to help them better understand the cause and effect that is so relevant in any social studies course.
Take a look at my Primary Source Materials for great reviews of U.S. and World History, Geography, Government, and more.  Don't just prep your students for filling in bubbles; teach them instead how to truly see and evaluate any source to understand it's meaning and significance. And start that investigation with primary sources!

For a very comprehensive review for U.S. History, take a look at this Amazing U.S. History Primary Source Analysis Bundle

Teaching to the test does not need to include repeated multiple choice practice. Instead use these ideas for open response questioning and primary source analysis in your middle or high school classroom! #teaching

Happy Teaching!