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ISAT Island creating confidence: 'They all support each other'

Sixth grade teachers came together at Lewis and Clark Middle School in Meridian to put on a fun "Survivor" inspired activity to prepare students for the ISAT.

MERIDIAN, Idaho — The Idaho Student Achievement test, or ISAT, is taken by 6th graders at the end of the school year to help understand they're learning. One teacher team in Meridian put together a fun activity to get their students ready.

"We had sat down and talked about what do we want to do to prepare the kids for the test," explained Kayla Kiemel, with Shannon Schwartz. They are both 6th grade English teachers at Lewis and Clark Middle School. "We want them to go in having a positive outlook, not looking at it as being a test to be afraid of, or nervous about, and a chance to just show what they've learned."

The pair came up with ISAT Island. They based it off of the television show Survivor. Games, puzzles and riddles were used to make it interactive.

"Since the ISAT assesses students on their math and reading skills we collaborated with the math teachers and it turned into the entire 6th grade team collaborating together so we could create a supportive environment for the kids," Schwartz said. "Everyone created activities, study skills activities, just to help these kids gain confidence."

Over two weeks students earn points and incentives, and those land them tickets to the ultimate relay challenge.

"That challenge was like our end of the year review celebration and it was class versus class, and it was just fun and they realized they're all in this together," said Schwartz. "They all have support for each other, all the teachers were able cheer them on, and we just hope that this continues as a Lewis and Clark tradition."

This week is the moment of truth for the students, and Kiemel and Schwartz say they're hoping they can put their nerves aside and just show them what they can do.

"All of our students are so special to us and we just want to see them be successful and happy, and so it's awesome that we get to be the people on their journeys, and to get to share and brag about them is awesome," said Kiemel.

This is the second year the 6th grade teachers have done ISAT Island. They say it was a big team effort.

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