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Students play game to prepare for MSAs

March 13, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WILLIAMSPORT

He was ready for reading questions, but 8-year-old Levi Taylor said he was sure he would need a little help with the math.

Luckily, the Williamsport Elementary School third-grader said he drew a reading question during the school's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire MSA'er game Tuesday.

Judy Kerns, a student achievement specialist at the school, said she helped create the game to prepare students for Maryland State Assessment tests in reading and math, which are being taken this week and next by Washington County Public Schools students.

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The game was modeled after the "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" game show, complete with three lifelines. Instead of phoning a friend, Levi said he was going to ask a friend for help if he had to answer a math question.

"During the MSA test this week and next, you can't phone a friend," Kerns told the hundreds of students participating. "Can you? Your lifeline is your test-taking strategies (you've learned)."

She and Cindy Myers, an instructional assistant at Williamsport Elementary, created the game to ease students into the tests and energize them to succeed, Kerns said.

Questions increased in value from $100 to $1 million, with a student representative from a class in each grade level answering questions, followed by a team question. The questions with the multiple choice answers were displayed on a large projection screen.

Anastasia Fedorko, 10, a fourth-grader, was asked what "mal" means in the word "malnutrition." She asked to use a lifeline before answering and asked a friend who she said is good at vocabulary to help. After a few seconds of discussion with her friend, she gave the correct answer of "poor."

Fourth-grader Savannah Holder, 9, said she enjoyed the game.

"The questions are challenging, and they make you think," she said. "It's different. I like it."

Lexus Gossard, 9, said she wasn't nervous about taking the standardized tests, even without the use of lifelines.

"I'm good at math and reading, and really that's what the MSA is," she said.

Washington County Public Schools spokeswoman Carol Mowen said many schools have MSA preparation activities in the weeks leading up to testing. Fountaindale Elementary School had a pep rally, and other schools have had assemblies.

Mowen said the activities prepare the students for test activities, encourage them to do their best and allay any concerns or fears about testing.

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