Friday, April 27, 2012

have you got the time?

We had a testing pep rally today for the kids.

We got loud and just a little bit wild.  There was loud music and pom poms. We came in the multi-purpose room stomping and clapping to We Will Rock You. Then we watched this fun video.

One of our state senators spoke to the kids and encouraged them to do their best on the test next week. 

At least, I'm guessing that's what she said, because I was back stage getting ready for a rousing game of What's That Strategy? to review test taking strategies. It was pretty hilarious. Our computer specialist was the host of the show. She was dressed in hot pink, wearing a hot pink wig, with hot pink lips painted waaaay outside her actual lip lines. All this plus a Julia Child soprano stage voice! 

Each teacher dressed up as a certain strategy and one by one stood behind a scrim. From our silhouette and some clues, the contestants were supposed to name the strategy. 

My strategy was be on time and take your time. So I made a special clock showing the times the students should be at school.  In a nod to Mrs. Frizzle, I sported a few extra clocks.

I think maybe I needed more clocks.

And a navy blue dress.

The fact that I represented a strategy having to do with time is quite hilarious. I am a.l.w.a.y.s running late. Friends and family alike are always just a little shocked when we turn up on time to a function, not to mention a little early. Hey, it's been known to happen a time or two.

Also, I have pitiful time management.

This particular personality trait kills my husband because Mr. FedEx is all about time.

My fancy pants clock was double-sided with the second part of the strategy.

Our testing is next week. I am more than ready for it to be over! I have to admit, I'm feeling a little worried & I hope they do well on this test. I crossing my fingers that they wow me with what they can do because for the past week or so I have been less than impressed. I'm hoping their brains are just taking a little siesta before the big test. That has to be the explanation for their performance this past week!

In my room, I've tried to strike the right balance between helping them be prepared for the test, while not making it be our entire focus. I don't want them to be so wound tight about it that their anxiety disables them. On the other hand, they need to sense the urgency of the high stakes testing and do their very best.

Cross your fingers and wish us luck!


Saturday, April 21, 2012

figure of speech review

We are approaching state testing. Blech! We just finished two weeks of what we call the Blitz (insert *jazz hands*). Basically, the blitz is an opportunity for the students to change classes four times a day (and pretend they are in middle school) while we furtively cram their brains with stuff they forgot review topics we've already taught. The kids loved it. I tolerated it.

One of my review sessions was figurative language. So after we did a few multiple choice questions I busted out the figurative language sort. 

In small groups, the kids sorted the terms, definitions, and three examples of each term.

This was a very engaging activity for the kids.

They certainly did have a good time doing it and worked so well together.

The figurative language sort is available at my TpT store.  I made several copies on colored paper so I could have five groups doing it at once, but you can just make one or two copies for a center activity.

I'm glad the blitz is over! No matter how much my class may get on my nerves from time to time, they are my class. We get each other. I'm glad we will be on a more normal schedule ~ for one more week before testing. My team wanted to switch again for math this coming week. I rolled my eyes and declined. They are doing it without me. I don't mind.


Monday, April 9, 2012

polygon pictures

Just before spring break we studied polygons. We didn't have a lot of time to devote to this topic, but we managed to squeeze in a fun little activity.

I put slips of paper in a bucket with various polygon shape names & each student chose 5 slips. Any duplicates were put back and they drew again. With those five shapes they were to create a picture incorporating those shapes.

They also had to incorporate one transformation (translation, rotation, reflection) into their picture.

They also had to include an example of symmetry.

Finally, they had to write about what they drew, specifically naming the polygons, transformations, and symmetry. This was a double duty step ~ I didn't have to guess at how they meant to represent their polygons, transformation, and symmetry AND they got extra practice in writing. Win-win.

This activity was 10-year old approved! When I first told them we were going to do something fun with polygons, I think some of them didn't believe me. Doubters! As they were working, several of the kids exclaimed how fun it was. They especially liked it when I turned on the thinking music. I'm sure they'd rather be listening to their pop/rap/whatever music ~ but they never complain when I turn on other genres of music while they work. As you can see, some of them turned out really cute.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

sunday night blues and new products

Spring Break is over. Sad face. 

Tomorrow we will slide back into our normal routine. No more late nights. No more late dinners. No more jammie days. 

Oh, who are we kidding? There will still be late nights and late dinners ~ but with early mornings that follow!

In the midst of finishing the yearbook {hallelujah!} I have been able to put a couple of new items together for my TpT store.  The first is a literacy center to practice spelling frequently used words. This will help those kiddos who are s.t.i.l.l. spelling words like does, friend, & they  wrong. Included is a practice mat, letter discs, word lists, and a recording sheet.  There are also blank lists so you can create individualized lists. The students select the discs that spell the target word and place them at the bottom of the stem to spell the word. The student then moves the letter up the stem to the flower while saying each letter. Then move the discs back down to the ground while saying each letter again. The student will write the word on the recording sheet without looking, then check it against the word list. On the back of the recording sheet is a place to write three sentences using at least one of the words in each sentence. Older students can be challenged to use more than one list word in each sentence. Click the picture to get this literacy center.

I also made a set of flash cards for fluency practice with the Dolch Phrases #49 - 96 with these cute little mice.

Phrases #1 - 48 are also available with adorable owls. I'm still working on the third set of phrases.

So, here's to well-behaved 4th graders after Spring Break!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

currently ~ april

I'm linking up with Farley for her April Currently link party. 

We like Myth Busters around a thousand other shows. 

I'm on spring break right now. I've spent the entire day in my jammies.  Yesterday too.  Don't be jealous.

I love ice cream. 'Nuff said.

I'm s.t.i.l.l. working on the yearbook for school. It's taking longer than I planned. I'm bored of it now. Since abandoning this project is not really an option, I am soldiering on. I might be having an attitude about it right now. 

I might need a second week of spring break. When we go back to school we are having a "blitz" to prepare for state testing. This is new since I was in 4th grade last. I'm not so sure about it. Then there will be the big, scary test. Hmpf!

Ah, the super powers! Since we are picking super powers, I picked two. First, I'd like to have a cloak of invisibility to, you know, be the proverbial fly on the wall. I'm more than a little nosy & like to know what's going on, so this is perfect! I'm also giving myself a magic wand to wave around to get things done. Messy house? Done! Messy desk at school? Done! Finishing a yearbook? Done!