Monday, April 29, 2013

Golden Tickets

It's that time of year!  We just finished administering our state assessments and will soon begin our end-of-year benchmark testing.  (We use AIMSweb, Study Island, and 4Sight three times a year to assess students' academic growth.) 

This year's state test seemed to take its toll on students.  They worked hard and were visibly exhausted upon its completion.  I was so proud of their efforts!  I sure hope they can keep up the momentum until the rest of the assessments are complete.  :)

How do you recognize effort and encourage perseverance during testing? This year we are using Golden Tickets to acknowledge students who give their best effort.  Students who work carefully and demonstrate diligence will be given a Golden Ticket.  The coupons will be entered in a drawing to earn a special picnic lunch with the principal.  

Click on the picture to download the tickets for your own use.  :)
Best of luck with your school's end-of-year testing!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Earth Day Word Sort

Just popped in to share a little word sort freebie.  Click on the picture to download it.  :)

Sunny Days in Second Grade hosted an Earth Day Freebie Linky. There are tons of great activities posted.  Be sure to check it out.

 Additionally, it's Manic Monday!  Stop on over to see Charity and all the great freebies posted on Classroom Freebies.

Happy Earth Day, friends!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Prayers for Boston

God bless and care for the victims and families affected by the explosions in Boston.  Praying for peace.  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

*The Big Test*

We've been busy preparing for standardized testing. Teachers just finished taking an online computer training session and a test on how to administer THE BIG TEST.  

Our classrooms have been transformed. All instructional materials, like posters and bulletin boards, are covered or removed including the classroom clock. Yes, even the face of the clock has been covered.  :) 

Here are two books that make perfect read-alouds for this time of year:

The Big Test by Julie Danneberg

Summary:  Mrs. Hartwell is preparing her class to take THE BIG TEST. Knowing they have studied and are well-prepared, she helps the students practice how to sit quietly, fill in the bubbles, and follow the directions. She even instructs them on proper morning-of-the-test nutrition. As her students grow increasingly anxious about the Big Test, Mrs. Hartwell realizes she has to teach the most valuable test-taking skill of all: learning to relax!

Testing Miss Malarkey by Judy Finchler

Summary:  The new school year brings standardized testing to every school and Miss Malarkey's is no exception. Teachers, students, and even parents are preparing for THE BIG TEST. Even though the grown-ups tell the children not to worry, they're acting a little strange. The gym teacher is teaching stress-reducing yoga instead of sports in gym class. The cafeteria is serving "brain food" for lunch. Parents are even giving pop quizzes on bedtime stories at night. The kids are beginning to think that maybe the test is more important than they're being led to believe. 

You can one or both of these books as a springboard to discuss topics like test preparation or test anxiety.

If you are looking for ideas to help your students prepare for THE BIG TEST, check out Teaching Is A Gift's Test Prep Linky.  There are more than a hundred great activities.  Link-up and share your own tips, too!

Best of luck on your school's BIG TEST.  :)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

One Minute Reader

Does your school use Read Naturally Live?  My district uses the program for students who need a little extra support in reading. The goal of the program is to develop and support the five essential components of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.   

The program combines teacher modeling, repeated reading, and progress monitoring. Students listen, read, retell, answer comprehension questions, and receive immediate feedback on their progress. They can even earn gold ribbons for achieving goals determined by their teacher.  

The company recently released an 'at home' version, One Minute Reader, which is available for the iPad. There are 6 levels ranging from early reader to grade five. The free version offers one free story at each level. You can download the rest of the stories at each level for a small fee.  

Elements of One Minute Reader:

  • Timed Cold Read
  • Read Along with a Fluent Model
  • Practice Reading Independently
  • Take a Quiz
  • Timed Hot Read
Check it out in the App Store. If you have young readers at home, you may just love this app.  :)

What programs are used by your school district to support students in reading?  I love to hear from you!  :)

Monday, April 1, 2013

April Currently

It's time to link up with Farley for April's Currently...

The Good Wife is a Sunday ritual for me.

I spent the day watching The Bible on television, enjoying the aroma of an Easter ham in the oven, and hanging out with my favorite people in the whole world.  

I can't believe the marking period closes this week, and my report cards will be due soon.

We've had two snowstorms since spring began.  I am so over snow.  Give me sunshine, warm weather, and spring flowers, please. 

Our Spring Break was only one day, Good Friday, due to make up days for a hurricane and a not-so-snowy snow day.  I really need another day of relaxation.  

And finally my advice (which I need to be following myself)... Approach every task with a positive attitude.  It makes life so much more pleasant.  :)

If you haven't linked up with Farley yet, hurry over there and join the fun.  :)