Sunday, April 10, 2016

 Testing Week

This is my 19th year to teach and my first year to administer the state test. I may be more nervous than my students. I hope I am because I don't want them nervous.

We all have door decorations to encourage the students. I like mine, but if I hadn't procrastinated so long, I know it would have turned out better than it did. It was really sort of a "squirrel" moment when I came up with the idea. I was looking up synonyms for smart, since I hadn't found what I was wanting, I looked up brilliant. Radiant popped up as one along with shining, etc... Well, when I saw radiant, I immediately thought of "Charlotte's Web" and that is where my inspiration came from.
In case you can't read it, Wilbur is saying, "Charlotte, what does it all mean?"
Charlotte replies,  "Wilbur, it means these kids are ready for the test."
I started with the word brilliant and each day I added a new one in the web and put the other word some where else. If i hadn't procrastinated so much, I was going to try and make the words look like spider webs using white pipe cleaners.

On Friday, I let the kids make some posters for the classroom and the hallways. we looked at a few ideas and then I let them do what they wanted. Here's what they came up with.
We did good together, now we can do it apart.

One of the girls said to me, "Oh I guess we should have put the state flag on it for the state test." LOL!

I think the message they were trying to say was something like, You can't be judged by the state test.
We had talked about all of the things the state test couldn't judge about them like creativity , kindness, helpfulness, etc...

I almost cracked up when I saw this. I guess I didn't really read it when they brought it up to me,
 needless to say,  I hung it in the classroom instead of the hallway. ;)
In case you are interested, a friend and I wrote a testing song several years ago, to the tune of "Jingle Bells" you can find it HERE there are several different color borders to choose from.

I'm not sure why, but the school isn't providing the cute incentive snacks this year. So I decided I would do some for my class. Since my printer is out of ink, I thought I would make the signs and put them on my Smartboard if you are interested in using them instead of printing all of the little labels, you can find it HERE. This is a sample.

I am making one more poster for the kids. I got the idea from this pin.

I sent home pieces of construction paper popcorn with the kids so the parents could write a positive message to the class. I'll post a picture of it when I get it finished.

Hope you have a wonderful week!

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Friday, March 18, 2016

 Making Autobiography Maps

I have missed blogging! I think when I moved to 3rd Grade, I felt lost in the blogging world because all of my blogging buddies were 1st or 2nd grade teachers. Not only do I not teach first or second grade, I don't even teach reading or math...I teach 3rd grade science and social studies. I just didn't feel like I fit in anymore. But blogging I think helps me to be a better teacher, it helps me to reflect on my lessons and projects so that I can improve them for next year. So I'm going to try to jump back into the ring!

This year's class studied maps in much more depth than than my class did last year. I do a pretest and post test on all of my major skills. I don't really mind doing that except I have to remind the students over and over that the pretest IS NOT going in the grade book. Now that we are 3/4 through the school year, I think most of them understand that now. Anyway, I really like doing small projects to follow up the lessons so the students can show what they know.

I was thinking about doing a group (4 people)  map, but I didn't really have any suitable paper for them to use. I was going to have them make a city map and then as a group they would add things that were important to each of them.

I started searching the Internet to see if I could find some ideas. The first thing I found was called Barefoot Island. I liked it, but I kept looking around.

Next I came across these Autobiography Islands. I really liked them! 

I had to make a few adjustments since the ones I found were for middle school and I teach 3rd grade.

I'll be making a rubric for next year. This year I told the students I would be grading them in four areas:  Neatness, Creativity, Spelling and  Required Elements.  We first discussed the definition of an autobiography. We looked at samples from the middle school students. We brainstormed what types of things could go on our maps and then the students got to work on the rough drafts of their maps. I helped to proof each one for spelling errors. After that, they got to work on their final project. The required elements for each of the maps were: 1) Map Title  2) Compass Rose  3) Map Legend  4) at least 3 Man-made objects  5) at least 3 Natural Landforms. I thought most of them turned out great. I liked the way this project kind of evened the playing field. Since I was checking the spelling on all of the projects, I got to see some of my lower students shine with creativity in their maps. Here are some examples. Probably too many, but I just loved them! Be glad I didn't post all 68! LOL

I'll be honest, when it came to grading their creativity...everyone got a 5 the max points. I don't know call me a softie, but I really thought everyone was creative on their own level. I did give a bonus point on those I thought we "extra creative".

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

 Rewards of Honor

Rewards of Honor is the brain child of Steve Faulkner a business man and advocate for educators. The mission of Rewards of Honor is to bring resources, recognition and honor in extraordinary ways to thank, reinvigorate and transform the lives of our educators who do so much for our children. Mr. Faulkner's goal is to be able to provide at least $10,000 dollars a year of goods and services to teachers. I'm lucky he has started the program in my city, but he wants it to take hold and spread nation wide.

By showing our school ID we can go into different local businesses everyday and receive for example, a free 8 inch pizza made to order, a plate nachos with any toppings, a snow cone of our choice, free drink and chips from a sandwich shop, a free cup of gourmet coffee, free salon services, a free oil change with no strings attached, When we first heard about this they only had two contributors and just since school has been out there are now twelve different contributors. What's even neater, it's not just for the teachers, it is for assistants, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, all district employees!

Here are just a few of the contributors.

Show support to this cause by liking their Facebook page. If you want to read more about it, here is the link to their webpage.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

 Testing Incentives and Teacher Appreciation...A Month Late

I think every post I make in the next few weeks will say, "A Month Late". I'm not sure why I have had so many problems making posts this year. My lessons plans are easy and they are only for two subjects since we are departmentalized, so I'm not sure what is going on.

I was a little disappointed that no one made any posters for the 3rd  graders to encourage them as they tested so my class and I made some the first day of testing.

We made one for each of the third grade classes and put the students names on the posters.

We had all of the 3rd graders sign this poster.

OK now to Teacher Appreciation. This year I wanted to try and reach out to those teachers that sometimes get left out during Teacher Appreciation Week. I have a good friend who is a SPED teacher and another that is a Title 1 Reading Teacher and they seldom receive anything. So I decided I would do what I could to make sure the teachers received some appreciation from at least my students. 

I made good use of the afternoons after my class finished testing. We made our Mother's Day cards, cards for the Secretary's Day and posters for those special teachers. 

This is the poster we made for the Title 1 Reading Teacher. My kids all knew her because she is also runs a book club that a lot of them go to and she is the one in charge of the AR challenges. Each of the students put their favorite book on the poster with a nice note to the teacher inside.
I got this idea from this pin.

This one was for our PE teacher, the kids were supposed to draw their 
favorite activity and the write her a note on the drawing.

 Next up the music teacher.

This one was for the librarian.
I had a the students who went to speech, gifted, and sped make 
smaller cards or posters for those teachers.

I thought I was finished, but no the kids wanted to make one for the 
reading teacher, math teacher, principal and counselor.

Mine look much different, 
but I got my idea from this pin. 

Here's a couple of things we made for Delaney's teachers.

I hope everyone felt appreciated!

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