Monday, October 22, 2012

Testing, Testing, 1,2,3.

     As we finish up THE TEST, make-up and such, I thought I would share some fun test treats I created for my kids based off of pinterest posts I found. I will try to give credit to where credit is due, but with random pins and lots of people having the same ideas posted it can be difficult to know exactly who made it first, but I'll do my BEST!
I supposed I will start with my partner teacher and I's creations {from the days before pinterest -_-}
The first day I have a kid bring in a pack of water bottles a day early so I can decorate them for encouragement "______________ will BEAT THE MEAP!"
 Cute Smarty idea from Juiceboxes and Crayolas
I created my own "KISS" card based off of pin I saw but could not find an original blog for.
     I'm sure you've all been seeing these little "Superpops" flying around cyber world. NO PUN INTENDED ;) They were the PERFECT treat for the kids since my classroom theme this year is SUPERHEROES! Awesome. Since this was so time consuming (ha!) and a LOT of sugar for pre-test. I decided to wait and have this be our END of test treat! I do not see harm in little kisses or smarties before a test, but to give kids such large doses of sugar (ex. cookie(s), suckers, etc.) can really give them a sugar rush which can wear off during the test, leaving them feeling tired, sluggish, and unfocused. All things we do NOT want them to be during any point of THE TEST! I got this AMAZING template from Zakka Life then edited it so it was personalized for OUR TEST!
     Lastly, a quick shot of our ready and sharpened #2 pencils and our pack of gum - which we let the kids chew during THE TEST to help them focus. Works well, gets the kids excited, and we haven't ever had an issue with it. Winner.
 Hope your tests have been going well if you are a FALL tester, if you are a SPRING tester, you are lucky!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pumpkin Inspiration

     To practice persuasive writing, I had my kids create Pumpkin RAFTS, a great idea I got from Caffeinated Conclusions. I use RAFTS a lot throughout the year. They are such a fun, creative way to have the kids look at something (usually historical for me - not this time though) from a different point of view.
See also my Revolutionary War Tea RAFT post for a more integrated idea.

R (role) = Pumpkin
A (audience) = little kids 
F (format) = letter 
T (topic) = 1. NO! Please do NOT carve me! 
                  2. YES! Please DO carve me! 
S (strong words) = 1. Annihilate 
                               2. Creation
These turned out AMAZING this year - I was very impressed with their creativity! 
We talked about how we need to give good, strong reasons (minimum of 3) and how we want to try and hook our readers attention to something "serious." We also discussed Point of View and how we are looking at the activity of "carving" from another "person's" Point of View and how that will change our writing as authors. The kids really enjoyed "getting inside a pumpkins head."
Here are some of our Pumpkin letters:
We have now brought FALL into the room :) 


"BEAT THE MEAP!" has been the rallying cry this last week as we buckle down to take "THE TEST"
We have actually had a lot of fun preparing and getting the kids geeked about it these last few weeks! Fun review sessions, quick quiz games, review stations, and fun treats along the way helped make it more of something to look forward to than dread. Though I'm sure we can all agree that there is still a substantial amount of stress no matter how much glits and glam we place on it - especially for us teachers! Even the 4th grade teacher got on board with us giving my kiddos a pep talk before THE TEST about how they are showing all they learned last year with him and how if 80% of them pass the Reading section (which is what he teaches) he will shave his head into a MOHAWK! Needless to say this was very inspirational to the kiddies - we now have a photoshopped poster of him on our board as a reminder! 

And because I just ADORE the fall season AND because the kids need mental breaks, I use these weeks to squeak in a few of my non-essential outdoor fall favorites! It has to be one of the coziest times of the year (besides for Christmas, which I think beats all seasons and holidays for me!). But seriously, I love all those "Fally" things - apple cider, hayrides, pumpkins, chilly enough for a light jacket but warm enough to go for a walk kind of evenings, beautiful fall colors ... mmmm ... I don't think I could ever live somewhere that didn't have the four seasons!
   My partner teacher and I took our kids out Tuesday afternoon after THE TEST and burned our initials into leaves with magnifying glasses - A HUGE HIT! I'm telling you, the easiest yet biggest crowd pleaser ever!
Another afternoon we had the kids collaborate by using ten straws and one arms length piece of masking tape to make a container to protect an egg. 
 Then we went out to the playground to test our protective packaging by tossing them from the very top of the jungle gym. It was great!
Good Luck Testers! 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Leaf Poems and Scenic Fall Drives

I don't know about ya'll but this fall has been TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY BEAUTIFUL! Every day on the way home from work it is MUCH to dark on my way to work to see anything. too early i tell you! I am in awe of the beauty that surrounds me on either side of the road! I do not know if it has been the increase of constant, perpetual rain or what but it has produced some of the most fabulous colors!
Okay. So I did a bit of research. Shut up, yes I am a teacher, it is in our BLOOD! 
Annnnnd ....
I discovered that FROST is the culprit for creating a most spectacular fall. When an late frost arrives the leaves begin their "shutting down" process much later, therefore storing more "color/food" in their leaves.
I just HAD to share my drive from work with you. These are taken with a IPHONE no less - and they still look fantastic! Trust me, it is even more breathtaking in person. If you live in a seasonal state, I hope that your fall has been as incredible as ours here in the gorgeous state of Michigan.
Isn't this little Methodist church just the CUTEST!?
Love me some corn fields ... when I see them I am home. 
 I just LOVE tree lined roads, there are so many here in Michigan. Growing up in Ohio, Yes, I know, my family are all Michigan born and bred, I was the one raised in "ENEMY TERRITORY!" I can truly appreciate TREES - everywhere!
 It wouldn't be Michigan without a LAKE picture. Here is one of the SIX lakes that I pass on my way to work every morning. 
Teacher fun fact: Did you know? That if you stand anywhere in Michigan you are never more than 6 miles from a lake. Awesome. 
 How quaint is this little school house? It just needs a little tender loving care. Everyday I pass it. Everyday I want to buy it. 
I pass SO MANY barns on the way to school - reminders that "home" is in the midwest. 
They just look so perfect in the fall ... corn fields, bright trees, bursts of red. Love. 
 I even found a little fall creeping up our apartment building! 
Thanks for coming for a drive with me! 

In honor of this totally FAB season, the kiddos did LEAF RUBBINGS and created leaf poems. 
 {Teacher pride} 

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