This list is titled “Things You Will Never in a Million Years Hear any Sane Teacher Say in a Non-Sarcastic Manner”:

- “Oh my gosh! End of year state testing time! I can’t wait!”
- “I just loooooove state testing, I think it really shows off ALL the good qualities of my students and everything that they have learned in my classroom this year!”
- “I think state testing is a really great idea. People who aren’t teachers making up a test that will determine whether students get to graduate is just the best idea anyone has ever had”

We have officially entered the end of year craziness that is state testing. Here in Virginia, we have Standards of Learning tests, or SOLs. Yes, SOLs. That’s what everyone refers to these tests as. I don’t think anyone *really* thought that through before nicknaming them that, but it’s kind of appropriate because once you get to high school you MUST pass a specific number in each core subject to graduate or you are SOL. When I was in high school (also in Virginia), my English teacher would always tell us when things were due and end it with “Make sure you turn it in by that date or you are SOL and I don’t mean the test…” And that’s when I first learned how ridiculous the nickname SOLs were for our test.

I’m always looking for fun ways to review for the end of year tests that aren’t worksheet on worksheet or super thick packets. This year, in our Algebra 1 PLC we had switched around the curriculum to match our new standards and therefore, needed a whole new review plan for the end of the year. And thus, the “Missions” Review game was born.

Here’s how it works in my classroom:

- There are 15 “missions” each broken down by a certain topic or unit in the Algebra 1 curriculum. There are 2 missions that are a blend of topics because I had extra questions for some topics that I couldn’t cut out and just put them all together into a “review” set. See pictures below to get a feel for what the topics I include are!
- I separated my students into groups of 2-3 students. One of my classes I let them pick their groups and then in my other classes I picked their groups for them. Each group gets an answer sheet on which to record their answers. I put each of the review strands into a ziploc bag and put them up on my front table for students to grab from.
- Each group started with one baggie of missions. It didn’t matter which one they started with because the missions have nothing to do with each other. ALL that mattered was that EVENTUALLY they completed all of the missions. With 15 different missions, there were always 2-3 of them left at the front at any time so I only ran into a problem one time out of my 3 Algebra 1 classes where there was a group finished and they had only one mission left and it wasn’t one left on the table. (In this case, I just quickly printed out an extra copy of the last set they hadn’t done yet so they could keep working).
- As students finished a mission, they had to bring me their answer sheet to check. They got 2 points if they got it right on the first try, if they got one (or more) wrong, they had to go back to their group to fix it and then bring it back up for me to check. If they fixed the errors and got the questions correct on the second try then they got one point. If the errors were not fixed, I had a quick conversation at my desk with the person who came up and they were in charge with then reteaching their group members how to get the correct answer. They get 0 points if they don’t get it right after 2 attempts.
- I gave students 2 full class periods to finish this. Because of the end of year craziness, our schedule was weird so one of the class periods was 2 hours while the other class period was 1.5 hours. All students easily finished it in the 3.5 hours I gave them. Most students had about 30 minutes of free time at the end of the last period, while some students worked up until the end of the period. The only students who did not finish the assignment were the students who were not on task and goofing off with their friends instead of working. I mean, no I don’t have students like that in my classroom………. 😉
- At the end of the second class period, I totaled up each group’s total points and divided it by the total number of points possible to get their grade. In our school we do standards based grading. We have the grades split up as formative(10%)/summative(80%)/comprehensive(10%) so this assignment went into the comprehensive category because it covered more than one standard.

Sample mission questions Sample mission questions

So there you have it! An easy, fun way to review Algebra 1! Want to see a set of stations for free? Click here! Or click HERE for the whole set for your classroom. Not an Algebra 1 teacher, and wish I had made this for Algebra 2? You’re in luck! Click HERE to get a free sample of Algebra 2 or HERE for the whole set of Algebra 2 missions!

Want access to exclusive freebies and stay on top of the latest tips and tricks? Click HERE to join my email list!