Sunday, March 20, 2016

Testing, Testing and More Testing

Are you feeling the stress of the end of the year "get ready for the test" freakout?  I know that my school is in full panic mode right now and tensions are running high.  With teacher evaluations being based on test scores, I completely understand.

We struggle to get through all of the material we need to cover, even though most of the students sitting in our classrooms come to us way below grade level.  We differentiate their learning, we spend oodles of time finding curriculum to enhance (or even replace) the school's curriculum, we explain and practice and re-teach, we love up on our students because, quite honestly, we might be the only ones that love up on them and then we face those unrealistic, unfair standardized tests that could make or break our careers.  Are you feeling me???

So, what do we do?  Look at the data, try to figure out what "little" things we can do, and we just keep trucking.  I know in my district, vocabulary is one of our main problems.  We have a huge ELL population and these students just don't have the prior knowledge and vocabulary skills needed to "understand" the test questions.  Vocabulary is difficult to teach.  Showing students a word and a definition and asking them to memorize it just isn't effective.  They need to "see" the word.  They need to understand it in context and they need to interact with it.  Our textbooks do an okay job with that, but it just isn't enough.  

Word walls are a strategy that seems to be very effective, but they are also very time consuming if you want to do it right and not just plaster words on a wall!  I created these vocabulary posters to help in classrooms, and they are the Common Core vocabulary words, so you know they will appear on those tests in a few weeks!  You might find them very useful in your review sessions and can help you year after year!

4th Grade Posters
5th Grade Posters

Right now I only have them for 4th and 5th grade, but I will be working to get the other grades, too!

These are not THE solution, but you will definitely find them useful.

I'm curious to hear some of the things that you find successful when getting ready for the end of the year tests?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Getting Ready.....

It is that time of year again..... summer is coming to an end and I am somewhat excited and somewhat bummed out.  I love the wake up when I want to, clean when I want to, shop when I want to lazy days of summer!  But, I am also excited to get another school year under way and meet my new batch of students.

I head back this Tuesday for 2 days of inservice and my students start back up September 3rd.  I planned to do a ton of work over the summer, but like most years, it got pushed back on the back burner so now I am in FREAK OUT mode!!!  I looked at my husband the other day and said, "I have to go to Walmart, I don't have any glue or crayons!"  I'm not sure about what it's like where you teach, but my kids can't really afford school supplies so I usually buy everything they will need in the classroom.  So, this is what my den looks like right now..... my darling husband is really ready for me to go back so this mess can get cleaned up, lol!

I've also been busy trying to print and laminate some things that I have created and some things that I purchased during the big TPT Back To School Sale!!  That is overwhelming..... I love buying all the great things, but printing them and getting them ready is time consuming and expensive!!  But, it's also much better than me having to create all of it on my own.  And who am I kidding; I am not nearly as creative and imaginative as most of the sellers there!!!

The very first thing I ran off and laminated was this wonderful Reading Genre Poster set from Rachel Lamb, the tattooed teacher!  Click on the picture to access it from her store!

I cannot wait to hang them up in my classroom!!

Then I know that I want name plates on my students' desks when they walk into the room.  Last year, I just had a name plate with their name and I soon came to realize that having some math items on there would definitely help them!!  Many of my students don't know their multiplication facts and they confuse fractions.  So, I came up with this!!!  If you click on the picture you will be able to download it from Google Drive.  I've made it editable, so you can type the names into the text boxes or you can delete the text boxes and hand write the names!!

I then realized that I purchased reading bins for my students this summer.  I love them and I can't wait to use them, but I need to number them!!!  I couldn't find exactly what I wanted, so I created my own.  They are circular with a chevron background and a lime green color.  If you'd like a set for yourself, click on the picture and it will take you to my store where you can download it for free!!

I am on my way to being ready, but I still have a ton more to do.  I am hoping I can get it all done before September 3rd and I'm hoping to post my classroom reveal later this week!!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Are You The Winner?

Who's that Blogger Reveal & Winners!!!

I have labeled the childhood photos with the matching blogs for you all to peek at!! Because of the volume of entries, winners will be notified throughout the weekend. I appreciate your patience as we send out emails and prizes.

Click on each image to see the photo

Winner of the $125 Amazon Gift Card!!!
You will receive an email notification and once your email has been confirmed, I will send you the Amazon gift card!!

Thank you so very much for playing!!
I have a fun FREEBIE for everyone to grab!! 
Please feel free to share the freebie through pins & I always appreciate your feedback!!
Click the image to visit my TpT shop and download the Acrostic Welcome Poem

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Who's That Blogger Linky and Giveaway

Welcome Everyone!!

         Are you ready to have some fun??
                                              ....Play a game?
                                                              .....Win  prizes and cash?

I have teamed up with 65 AMAZING blogger buddies to put together the ultimate Back to School Linky/Giveaway!!!

Each one of my blogger buddies submitted a cute childhood photo & generously donated something special from their online TpT shops for this occasion!! We have included a fun game for you to play for a chance to win over $300.00 in prizes and a BONUS  CASH-PRIZE raffle you can enter at the end of this post!! 


The game is easy to play....

 Your job will be to try and match each blogger with their childhood photo!!! With over 60 childhood photos and bloggers to match up, this might get tricky!! As I mentioned above, each blogger has generously donated one awesome prize from their TpT store. Successfully match a blogger and childhood photo, and you win the prize offered from that blogger!!! The more you matches you make, the more prizes you win!!! 

Check out some of the prizes you could win!!!

but Wait....
That's not all....

ONE lucky follower will win a $125 Amazon Gift Card!! Scroll to the bottom & follow the directions in the Rafflecopter for a chance to win $$$

The link below will open a form that will allow you to submit your answers for the match up. 

Use the blogger links and numbered images to help you along the way!! Each childhood photo has been assigned a specific number. 

Once you open the form, use the drop-down menu beneath each blog button and select a number that corresponds to a childhood photo. 

The form results will be collected throughout the week. At the end of the week, each submission will be "graded" and you will receive a prize for each blogger and photo you successfully matched up!!

The game closes on Friday, August 23rd at midnight (Arizona Mountain Time). Answers will be announced on Saturday, August 24th. Winners will be notified through email throughout the week. 

Use the blog links below the photos to search for clues!!
Click HERE to Play the Matching Game!!


Follow the directions in the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a $125 Amazon gift card!! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you so much for participating!!! Good Luck!!!

If you would like to post about this linky/giveaway, grab the special image below to display in your post and link up below!!! Make sure to use the link to the actual post,,,

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ten Things I've Learned From Teaching

I saw this linky party and knew I needed to jump on board and jump on board quickly!!!  Since I have taught for nearly 19 years, I sure hope there are things that I have learned.  Some of them are gut-wrenching, I can't believe things and some are just hysterical!!!  This linky is hosted by Miss Kindergarten and I can't wait to read everyone else's 10 things!

Number 1:  5th grade boys find anything anatomy related funny!  They just absolutely crack up when they hear the words fart, poop, butt, etc.  And, please help you if someone accidentally "cuts the cheese" in class.  I have had boys fall off their chair laughing and it can take quite some time to get them back on task.   I remember when I was teaching summarization and I introduced them to Someone, Wanted, But, So, Then.  Do you see that underlined, bolded word...... well the story I was reading to them actually had two buts...... and need I say more!!!

Number 2:  You don't have to like all of your students, but you do have to love them!!  Don't they say that about your own kids also??  Many students do not get the love and attention they need at home and they need to know you love them and that they are safe in your room.

Number 3:  Just when you think you have your whole week planned, there is some random thrown in event; whether it be an assembly your principal forget to tell you about or a mom shows up with cupcakes because they felt like it...... you have to be very flexible!!!

Number 4:  You are not their friend!!!!  That doesn't mean that you can't have fun, but they need to know that you are the boss.

Number 5:  Always have food in the classroom.  Some of these poor babies don't have a lot of food at home and they are very hungry!!!  I always have some granola bars tucked away.

Number 6:  Don't judge a book by its cover!  I hate when former teachers tell me how a kid was in their room.  Usually I hear how "awful" they were.  Those are usually the kids I love the most.  Goes to show you what a little classroom management does!

Number 7:  Speaking of classroom management.... it is essential, and unfortunately, it's not something that can really be taught to you!  Think of everything that could go wrong and plan for it because at some point it will happen.  Have procedures in place for everything and practice, practice, practice those procedures!!  I hate the first weeks of school, but the time you put in will be totally worth it!

Number 8:  Remember that some of these kids have awful home lives.  I had an 8th grader once that slept almost everyday in my class.  I would try to wake him up, but he would just go back to sleep.  He was a super smart boy, too.  He could sleep all the time and still get the best grades on the test!  I found out later that he was homeless and didn't have a place to sleep.  After that, I just let the poor boy sleep without hounding him.  They don't choose their situations!

Number 9:  Learn to get along with the other teachers and other staff members, even when you want to punch them in the face!!!  I am always polite and I always have a smile on my face.... then I go in my classroom, shut the door, and do my thing!

Number 10:  You will enjoy each and every vacation and will probably count the weeks, or possibly even the days, between vacations!!!!

If you want to read what other teachers have said, click on the picture at the top of this post to head to the linky party!!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Storage Ottomons~ What??

I know I haven't posted in a long time..... I thought for sure I would have more time in the summer and I guess I do, but I am just not motivated.  I am trying not to think about going back to work, but I probably should.  I know I will be a better teacher if I am prepared.

Anyway, I found these amazing storage ottomans at Five Below yesterday and I just have to share them with you.  They were only 5 dollars and came in many different colors.  I purchased 4 of them and I know my kiddos are going to fight over them during reading time!!!  I went the "I don't want them to get dirty" way and bought black.  My daughter wanted me to mix it up, but I am so afraid of them getting disgusting looking..... I really would like them to last a long time!!!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Monday Made It ~ Clip Art

My husband has been up north and I have been bored..... I usually love when he leaves because I can watch what I want to watch on TV and I don't feel bad working on the computer all day because he is not around to bug me.  But, this time, I really miss him... awwwww aren't I cute?

When I am bored, I like to doodle on my iPad.  Now, I can't draw, but I love my ArtStudio app and I love designing different and unique backgrounds and borders.  I have created some pretty cool stuff.  You can click HERE to check out my selection.

I am going to link up my newest creations to Tara's Monday Made It.  Tara can be found at 4th Grade Frolics and I just love this linky party!!  I am always inspired by all of the creations and it makes me wish I were more patient and crafty.  My Monday Made Its are normally products for my store, although I really should be working on some things for my classroom!!

The buzz around the Teachers pay Teachers community seems to be chalkboard related items, so that has been my theme lately.  I love the chalkboard look and I love the new sketchy font from Kimberly Geswein:  Its called KG Second Chances Sketch.

My first creation is a chalkboard frame that has a texturized border in different colors.  I think I am in love with it!!  (oh and the texturized pink background is mine, too.  It's one of my Ceiling Tile Backgrounds)

I then started thinking squares, so I cropped the background and added what looks like paint splatter around the edges of the square.  (The yellow background comes from my Fabric Background set).

Don't forget to head on over to 4th Grade Frolics to check out all the other Monday Made Its!!

I'm looking for new ideas for my backgrounds and borders.  Do you have any suggestions for me???

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