Sunday, April 28, 2013

Another Year of Testing Done!

Sorry I have been M.I.A.!  We just finished a week of testing on Friday.  And it has been really kind of boring in my classroom...review, review, review...yuck!

Testing was quite different for us this year...I teach in a suburb of Atlanta...no not in Atlanta, but outside.  And yes, teachers from Atlanta Public Schools were charged for fraud and such for cheating and changing students' bubbled answers on answer sheets on our state tests.  Because of that every single erasure on all students' answers sheets are now calculated and analyzed.  So this also means extra scrutiny on all teachers in Georgia...another yuck!

What did this mean for us at my school?  We did not give our classroom of students the test but were assigned to a different classroom of students during testing.  I know this seems totally normal for some...but this was a shock to the system for my colleagues and me.  It was different!  Another thing we had to do was document, document, document every major erasure that students made...like if students got off track in bubbling or skipped a question or were even really diligent in checking their work.  Nothing like being under the microscope!  Do any of you have to do this too?

But it is all done for this year...so my class did a little celebrating Friday afternoon after testing finished!  And my students enjoyed getting back to being 9 and 10 years old.  Students brought in snacks and board games to share.  We also completed a craft...making mini bookbags for our field trip to the Georgia Aquarium in a couple weeks.  Just look how relaxed they are...




 

I got the mini bookbags and fabric markers from Oriental Trading Company...they loved it!  And they will make carrying a snack and drink to the aquarium so much easier!

So glad that Monday will bring three weeks of stress-free teaching before the last day of school...this is what makes the rest of school year totally worth it!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Get Up and Go to Compare Fractions

I wanted to share with you an activity I posted today...
I used this activity with my students earlier in the year when we were learning fractions.  It has been on my to-do list to clean and pretty up for you.

I love to get my kids up and moving as much as I can!  And the students love it too...and they are so engaged!

Here is how this game works...we are comparing fractions to a benchmark fraction...in this case 1/2.  I put a fraction up on the board along with instructions about how to move...
The students move to a part of the room based on how this fraction compares to 1/2.  Now you know there are some students that are just going to follow the crowd...ok..fine.  That is where questioning and discussion comes in handy.  I ask students why they chose to go to a particular part of the room.  The "followers" hear the thinking of their peers and eventually they are no longer just following the crowd.

After the discussion, we view the visual representation...
And then we see the correct answer.

My students had lots of fun getting up and moving while learning.  Better yet the lesson sticks with them!

I would love for you to get your own copy.  The links below will take you to your favorite store so you can purchase a PowerPoint presentation of this game...
      
 
Have fun comparing fractions as you get up and go!

Two Great Contests from Carson Dellosa

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Carson Dellosa! They have some of the cutest classroom decoratives, great resource materials, and fabulous classroom materials. I wanted to give you a heads up about two contests Carson Dellosa has going on this month.

First, I don't recommend that my parents go out and buy any learning materials, but at the end of the school year there is one learning material that I do recommend...and that's the Summer Bridge books. During college, I worked during the summers at two different teacher supply stores...and each of those summers, these stores could not keep Summer Bridge in stock! They are fabulous! Well, Carson Dellosa is sponsoring a contest over on
WeAre Teachers for Summer Learning Goodie Bags valued at over $100! Five families will receive a Summer Learning Goodie Bag from Carson-Dellosa, each containing six Summer Bridge Activities workbooks valued at over $100. Better yet, each winning family’s teacher will receive a $100 gift certificate to Carson-Dellosa! There is something in this contest for everyone! You have to enter by May 3, 2013, so send this out to all your parents!

Second, Carson Dellosa is sponsoring a Teacher Appreciation Day BIG THANK YOU contest with their friends at Macaroni Kid. THREE winners will be selected to win a $300 Carson-Dellosa Shopping Spree. If your nominated teacher wins, they will receive a $300 Carson-Dellosa gift certificate to spend all year long on award-winning educational workbooks, software, games, puzzles, learning cards and everything they need to perfectly organize and decorate their classroom! AND… the person who nominated the teacher will win a $50 Carson-Dellosa gift certificate, too! For more info and to nominate a very special teacher,
click here. Deadline for nominations is 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on May 1, 2013, and the winners announced May 7, 2013.

Good luck! :)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

It's Spring Break!

Yeah!  It is Spring Break!  We have had more frequent breaks this second half of the year, and I love my students...but it was definitely time to have some extended time away from each other. :)
 
What's my plan for this break you may ask?  The big plan is doing as little as I can!  Of course, there is the obligatory cleaning and washing, errands to run and such, but more specifically here is the list...

  1. Getting a filling replaced...trying to avoid a root canal later and also getting rid of a yucky silver for a more subtle color.  I love silver just not in my teeth!
  2. Grading...I have a stack of those loose papers from those students that can never turn in work on time!
  3. Ok...get ready for a major nerd moment...I have a big Lego kit to put together!  I {puffy} heart Legos...always have...always will!  I got one in this same series for my birthday, and it took a couple of days to put together.  I couldn't wait to get another with the plan of working on it during Spring Break.  Here is what I will be building...
  4. Finally I will be getting ready some stuff for testing which will begin the second Monday after we get back...making testing treats (you can find them here) and revise some review to go along with Common Core.
What are you doing (or did you do) away from school on your Spring Break?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Currently...and It's My 100th Post! :)

It's time for Currently
from...
Here we go...
 
I know, I know...way late! 
I feel like I have nothing interesting going on right now...but lots of testing anxiety instead! 
Testing is two weeks away.  The C.R.C.T. is being revamped for the Common Core, but we don't really know what that will look like.  Yet my 4th graders must still pass all five sections of the test, and I feel like I am leading them blindly into a sandstorm!  I know passing will not be a problem for most of my students, but there are a couple hangers on that can go either way.  We are also all about exceeding at my school...and I feel like this year my scores could potentially be disappointing although I have been working my tail off!
So I am prepping, prepping, prepping them with good test taking strategies and finding the most complex C.R.C.T.-like questions I can find.  I feel I'm cramming it all in...so not a good feeling!
 
Ok...so done with whining...
and a little celebrating...
This is my 100th post!  Whoo hoo! Go me! Go me!
I can't wait to bring you 100 more! ;)
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