STAAR Review: Guest Post from Mustard Seed Teaching

Hi Y’all!!!

I am posting a bit late today because life has been crazy. I won’t bore you with all the deets, you can read that on my other blog. But basically… My life has been full on WEDDING PLANNING the last few weeks. But…it’s Spring Break, so I can stay up late working on a blog post cause tomorrow I CAN SLEEP IN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Luckily, back before I even got engaged, I had planned on having two sweet friends write a guest post on how they review for STAAR. Last week I shared about how I reviewed for STAAR using STAAR camp!

STAAR Review games and activities to engage your students while prepping for the dreaded STAAR test.

I met Courtney and Tiffany through school. Courtney was a Teacher Fellow at my school the year before me. Tiffany and I started teaching the same year at our school….so we were newbies together! Both Courtney and Tiffany have taught 4th and 5th grade. They are AMAZING at what they are doing. I often think I am a pretty good teacher…And then I am reminded of these two ladies and humbled very quickly!

They started a blog and a vlog at the beginning of this school year called Mustard Seed Teaching. I asked them to share about how their STAAR review process because I haven’t done that in a few years. My only STAAR experience has been in third grade, so I thought some tips from higher grades would be beneficial!

I LOVE their game ideas in this post. Mainly because they are games that you can play with ANY content. They also are super engaging and fun!

So without further adieu, here are my friends Tiffany and Courtney!

This post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure policy here


Guest Post: Mustard Seed Teaching

A great, fun, and engaging way to review for the big (dreaded) STAAR test is to do it with games!

You can use these games with things you’ve already created, problems you find online, etc. These games require very little teacher prep – the only thing you need to really prep is the most important: STRUCTURE.

Before setting up review games please remember: we cannot assume fun always leads to purposeful learning. Read one of our previous blog posts for suggestions for planning skill practice activities.

For all of these games, use rally coach or any other cooperative learning structures!

Pirate Game ($$) Available on amazon

The goal is to keep the pirate in the barrel

1)   The players will decide what color they represent.
2)   The first player will flip over a problem card.
3)   Everyone will solve the problem and show all of their work.
4)   The first player will explain their answer and the group members will discuss if there are disagreements.
5)   The players who get the problem correct will stick a sword in the pirate one at a time.
The players who get the problem incorrect will not be able to stick a sword into the barrel.
6)   Repeat these steps until a player pops the pirate to jump out of the barrel. When the pirate jumps out, reset the game and start over.

Card War  ($) With a stack of cards

The goal is to get as many cards as possible

1)   Split the deck of cards evenly between players.
2)   The players will solve the first problem and show all of their work.
3)   When players are finished answering the problem, they will discuss the problem and answer.
4)   If players get the problem correct, they will play one round of war.
With their individual deck of cards and without looking, each player will flip over their top card.
The player with the higher card will win the cards that were played.
The players that get the problem incorrect will throw a card from their deck in the middle for the next round.
5)   Repeat these steps until time is up and or if a player runs out of cards.
6)   The player with the most cards wins!

Erase or draw (Pair) (Free) With dry erase markers or any sort of writing utensil

The goal is to complete a full stick figure person (one head, one body, two legs, two arms)

1)   The players start off with a blank slate.
2)   All players will solve the problem and show all of their work. When players are finished answering the problem, they will discuss the problem and answer.
3)   The players that get the problem correct will play one round of erase or draw.
Players will play rock, paper, scissors to see who gets the first turn.
The players can decide to either draw a body part OR erase one of their opponent’s body part.
Players that get the problem incorrect lose a turn.
4)   Repeat these steps until a player gets their stick figure person complete!
5)   The player that finishes their stick figure person wins the round.
6)   Players will continue to play until the time has ended. The player that wins the most rounds of erase or draw, wins!

Alternative way to play (as seen in gif above):

1)Players start with a plain stick figure.
2) When students get an answer correct they can draw or erase one thing from either their stick figure or their partner’s stick figure.
Please note that all of these games take teacher modeling and set expectations!


See! How easy is that?!?! I also appreciate how they emphasize the importance of structure. I always think it is so important to practice things multiple times without content so they get used to the structure. Then, when you are ready to have them work independently while you are pulling students, you can trust that they know the expectations.

If you loved this, hop over to their website and vlog– there’s lots more where this came from!

Until next time,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *