Friday, April 18, 2014

Test Week: Part Five

A quick flashback to our first day of testing. As kids came into the building on Tuesday morning they were greeted with this:

They walked the red carpet all the way to their classrooms This is the doorway to my room:

And this sign was posted on each door:

It was a fun way to start the day! There were also "Oscar" cutouts on the doors; I forgot to take a picture of that, though.

We have made it to the final day - the second session of the math test. When I take my testing box down to turn it in I'll be picking up popsicles out of the freezer as today's surprise! It's been a long week and our brains are tired. What better way to celebrate than with a brain freeze!

In the afternoon we will watch "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" and complete this book vs. movie worksheet from Rachel Lynette at Minds In Bloom. This is a great activity to go with any book / movie combination, and a simple way to incorporate the necessary educational focus to movie watching!


I'm glad to finish, but one of my kids told me he wished everyday was FCAT! It was totally because of the treats :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Test Week: Part Four


Today is the first day of math testing. Since this is my subject, I am especially anxious to see my kids working hard today and tomorrow! I have no idea what the questions are, but it's easy to tell who is putting forth their best effort! 

Today's story is Daisy-Head Mayzie.

I'm going to introduce them to Make Belief Comix after the testing is done. They are definitely going to want to try this out! Technology Tailgate had a blog post about this, and I was immediately intrigued.

Our treat today will be doughnuts. Makes me kind of wish I wasn't eating healthy now! I find that the students are usually in need of a snack after the test, even though we don't normally have one. 

Today after block we are going to do the next lesson in our "Chocolate Economics" curriculum. Last summer our district brought in a trainer for this curriculum; attendees received the book free. Since I truly despise our social studies materials I jumped at the opportunity to try something different for this year. Well, my students are LOVING it! This week we will have a lesson on "opportunity cost" and they get to color pictures (should be relaxing after their hard work). Many of the lessons involve chocolate :) and of course they love that. They keep wishing I'd just hand out the candy at the end, but I tell them it's social studies materials! Clicking the picture will take you to the publishing company if you are interested. You can download the table of contents to get an idea about what is included.

From the web site: Whet your appetite with this tasty curriculum unit designed to sweeten your economics lessons. This unit uses a chocolate theme to teach elementary school lessons that directly correlate with the national content standards in economics. The creative activities are stimulating for young students and allow for active learning. The materials are easy for educators to use as thorough discussions of economic concepts are included. Activities have clear, thorough instructions, and all required game pieces, flash cards, worksheets, and activity cards are included for duplication. Topics include: resources, scarcity, opportunity cost, economic decision making, barter trade and exchange, interdependence (and applications to the global marketplace), producers, and consumers. Children's literature is incorporated.

I've never had so much fun teaching the economics standards! 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Test Week: Part Three


Another 70 minute reading test today. Today after testing we will have chocolate cupcakes and a party to celebrate the end of the reading portion!

Our read-aloud today is from Dr. Seuss -- I think some silly language will fit the occasion! I'm going to show the video of "The Butter Battle Book."

Product Details

After our block we are going to tie our shirts to prepare for the tie-dye bath! If you have never done this with your class may I recommend this guide from Laura Candler at Corkboard Connections.

This is a project my partner and I do to prepare for our field trip to Legoland Florida. My class will have green and white shirts and hers will have blue and white. Besides the trip, our kids wear them on field day so they look like a team. I buy all the shirts and wash them, the kids bring in money to cover the cost. After they put on the rubber bands to make designs I will take the shirts home to dye. It is so much fun to bring them back and let them take the rubber bands off and reveal their designs!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Test Week: Part Two


Tuesday is the actual first test day of the week. My students will take a 70 minute reading assessment. Their brains will be tired by 11:00 AM, and I will have been extremely bored! We will need something to perk us up! I think this will help:

I will probably have my kids for about an hour after testing, so hopefully this will get us in the mood for some fun and games! I have to leave early in the afternoon for an appointment, so they are going to have to go out and visit other classrooms for the last hour and a half.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Test Week: Part One

It's finally here -- our state test week. Here in Florida this is the last year for the FCAT; next year we will begin the new Common Core tests.

How do you get through the week? For our third graders, it is their first time taking FCAT. If they score a level 1 on the reading test they have mandatory retention (state law). It makes for some stress and anxiety for students and teachers!

I try to plan different activities for our week. This year for the first time we start our 4 days of testing on Tuesday (and yes, our district chose to make Good Friday a testing day; don't get me started!).

Here are a few of the things we will do this week:


We will begin our new two-week schedule, so instead of block at 9:50 it's at 1:20 this week and next. That gives my partner and I time for two 90 minute classes before lunch, so I will have math with my homeroom from 9 - 10:30 and with her homeroom from 10:30 - 12:00. I'm really curious to see what it's like to have my class early in the day -- normally I teach them in the afternoon. We have been reviewing geometry standards, so I'm going to be doing activities with this book:

I wrote about the book last week; if you missed it you can read it here.

After lunch there is just enough time for a short read-aloud. I'll be sharing this Reading Rainbow book:

This book is available in both Safari Montage and Discovery Education if you don't have a hard copy. The Amazon description is: Sam is getting nervous. The BIG TEST is coming. The older kids claim the BIG TEST booklet is as huge as a telephone book. They say when it’s over, you have to put your arm in a sling. They tell Sam that nobody ever finishes the test. Are they telling the truth? Can this really be the BIGGEST TEST IN THE UNIVERSE? Nancy Poydar helps take the terror out of test-taking in this humorous and reassuring picture book for students who are facing their own BIG TESTS.

Sounds like a good one for the day before our BIG TEST!

After block (PE every day for two weeks - woo hoo!)  I will be sharing with them some tips for relaxing/reducing anxiety and reviewing a video clip from a test-taking vid in Safari Montage that talks about multiple choice tests. My students always seem to enjoy the game show format of the video and it helps them think of questions they'd like to bring up before testing. If you have Safari Montage, the title is "How To Answer Test Questions."

Is it test time for you?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Math Lit: Three Pigs, One Wolf, and Seven Magic Shapes

(click to check out the book)

Next week is the TEST! I wasn't sure I'd get my math lit post written this week, but I really wanted to share this one -- I always save it for this time of year because it is so much fun! I love for my students to have a set of tangrams so they can build the shapes as I read.

I have a class set of plastic ones so I get those out for the first time when I read the book. Of course, you can make your own out of card stock too.
Today I made these using the pattern at the back of the book. I added the numbers for another activity that has students composing shapes with a given value. Our math coach came in and did this activity a couple days ago.

The first two challenges were to create a triangle with two pieces that has a value of 10 and to create a square with a value of 9. My kids loved it! 

To follow up this activity we will read the book on Monday (testing starts Tuesday) and build the shapes in the story, then work more on these worksheets (there were a total of 8 challenges but we only had time for a couple). 

Do you have favorite tangram activities?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Math Lit: Earth Day - Hooray!

(Scrappin' Doodles)

(click the picture to order)

I wanted to be sure to get this post out early enough for you to pick up this book if you're interested! It is another Stuart J. Murphy MathStart book, this time highlighting place value.

In this book the "Save the Planet Club" wants to buy flowers for a nearby park. They decide to collect and recycle aluminum cans. They need 5,000! It's really hard to count up that many cans but they learn to use place value to organize them.

With the information about recycling all through the book, it's great for Earth Day or anytime you are doing a lesson on reusing / recycling. This is one of my recent purchases, and it's definitely on the menu for April 22nd this year. Since the previous week is our state testing, I want books and activities that will be FUN :)

Also linking this post to Collaboration Cuties Mentor Text linky!

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