First Day to Test Day

A Road Map to Accelerate Student Learning & Prepare for Standardized Tests


Standardized Test Prep

Begin with the End in Mind

If students are going to succeed on state and national ELA assessments, preparation for Test Day needs to begin on the first day. By following a road map of instruction rooted in explicit teaching of priority standards, educators can accelerate learning and move students toward test success. During this virtual, interactive workshop, educators from grades 3-12 will learn how to craft a yearlong scaffold of instruction that intertwines reading and writing subskills so that students achieve true depth of knowledge before Test Day arrives.

A 4-Part Virtual Workshop Series

PART 1 – Available now on-demand

Target the thinking that students must execute when reading any text.

  • Demystify the inference process in order to answer comprehension questions about complex texts.
  • Attack questions with test-taking tips to support finding the “best” and “most likely” answers.

PART 2 – Available now on-demand

Reveal to students that their thinking must also be communicated in writing.

  • Define the ingredients to a strong constructed response.
  • Propel students beyond simply stating evidence to explaining it.

PART 3 – Available now on-demand

Advance students beyond making single-text inferences to generating multi-text syntheses.

  • Identify a step-by-step process for reading and annotating multiple texts in one sitting.
  • Dissect how readers integrate ideas learned from multiple sources to generate a new thought or synthesis.

PART 4 – September 15, 2021

Raise the rigor to reading multiple texts and composing extended responses—all in one sitting.

  • Provide explicit instruction on academic vocabulary to support students in decoding and responding to prompts.
  • Build on the students’ knowledge of short constructed responses to generate long, extended responses.
Students need a full year to develop the skills required to complete the complex tasks on today’s read-write assessments. Each session of this workshop will offer numerous lesson concepts, classroom examples, digital resources, and specific teaching points. In addition, there will be tips shared that improve students’ digital literacy skills—including reading off a screen and composing on a screen. To get kids Test-Day ready, teachers must start immediately, plan intentionally, and teach explicitly. This workshop will provide the tools necessary to do just that.

Who should attend?

Grades 3-12 ELA Teachers
Grades 6-12 Content-Area Teachers

Literacy Coaches/Coordinators

Title I Teachers/Directors
ELL Teachers
Special Education Teachers
Grades K-12 High-Ability Teachers
K-12 Administrators

Workshop Schedule

This virtual-interactive workshop will be divided into four 75-minute segments:


Available Now


Available Now


Available Now


September 15, 2021

4:30 p.m. – 5:45 p.m. ET

Workshop Pricing

Registration includes access to all four sessions: 8/25, 9/1, 9/8, 9/15.

1-9 Registrants


Groups of 10+


Groups of 25+

Custom Pricing

What’s included:

Lifetime access to the workshop “Secret Site” featuring:

Ready-to-go Digital Resources

Downloadable Lessons
Blackline Masters
Related Video Content
Links to Helpful Websites

A completion certificate acknowledging 5 hours of professional development when educators complete all four parts of this workshop series within 30 days.


A full-color downloadable handout to accompany each session.


Live chat support from Kristina Smekens and her team during each of the four virtual sessions.

Access to all four parts of the workshop, occurring on 8/25, 9/1, 9/8, and 9/15.

On-demand access to all workshop recordings for one year.

The option to pursue up to three hours of graduate-level credit for the purpose of license renewal or salary advancement. (This is available, for an additional fee, to attendees who complete this workshop within 30 days.)

Three reasons to attend this workshop:

High-stakes testing affects everyone.

How students perform on standardized reading and writing tests has far-reaching implications for students, teachers, and schools. Insights into the requirements for test success are needed now more than ever before.

Success on standardized tests is only part of the goal.

With mastery of academic standards as the ultimate goal, targeted and intentional preparation for the state assessment helps students improve as readers and writers for the test and beyond. 

Success on the test requires explicit instruction.

Kristina Smekens will share strategies to embed rigorous reading and writing instruction into your yearlong curriculum so that students are equipped with the most essential literacy skills.


Meet Your Guide

Kristina Smekens
After learning from Kristina, you’ll feel excited and ready to apply new ideas in your own classroom. This is because she has a gift for making the complex seem simple. You will learn how to meet the needs of readers and writers by bridging the gap between education research and practical classroom-tested strategies that get results!

What educators say about Smekens workshops

“Thank you for listening to educators, knowing what is needed for testing, but in the end—what makes for better readers,
writers, & thinkers.”

Tricia Stanley

Principal, Granville Wells Elementary – Jamestown, IN
“I feel so much more confident in my ability to prepare my students for the rigorous reading & writing standards of today and tomorrow!”

Kristy Worthington

St. Louis de Montfort Catholic School – Fishers, IN

“Thank you for all of the wonderful information and resources! It will help me in preparing my students for their End-of-Course tests!”

Melissa Watts

Teacher, Logan High School, Logan, OH
“I loved that it was virtual. I always feel so refreshed and come out with so many great ideas after a Smekens conference.”

Allison Slusher

Teacher, New Haven Primary School – New Haven, IN

“I always love your conferences, mostly because they are interactive and you all just make people feel comfortable and engaged.

Kristan Robertson

Instructional coach, Huber Ridge Elementary – Westerville, OH

“Kristina is the QUEEN of making the invisible VISIBLE, and, more importantly, CONCRETE. She concretely teaches it to me so that I can teach my kids.”

Heidi Tornquist

Teacher, Elm Road Elementary School – Mishawaka, IN

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I earn Professional Growth Credits?

When you complete all four parts of the workshop series by October 15, 2021, you’ll receive a completion certificate acknowledging 5 hours of professional development.

Can I earn Graduate-Level Units?

Attendees have the option to pursue up to three hours of graduate-level credit for the purpose of license renewal or salary advancement. (This is available, for an additional fee, to attendees who complete this workshop within 30 days.) Visit our Graduate-Level Credit page to learn more.

Can I share access with my colleagues?
Sorry, sharing your personalized link to watch the workshop is not allowed. Our Terms of Use specify that one registration fee allows access for just one person. However, we are happy to offer group discounts. Give us a call at (888) 376-0448 to get the details.
Do you offer a group discount?

Yes! For groups of 10 or more, contact us for special pricing and arrangements.

What is the cancellation policy?

Cancellations may occur at any time and a full refund, minus up to 5% transaction fees, will be paid.

Substitutions may occur at any time. If you need to cancel your registration, please submit your request to

Ready to register for this workshop series?

Have a Question?

Complete the form below or call (888) 376-0448.