Saturday, March 29, 2014

Testing Pep Rally: Five For Friday!

 Our principal had the awesome idea of having a state-testing pep rally! The kids were so fired up and emotional with school spirit afterward that I'm so excited to share what was on the agenda with you!

1.Our principal invited the mascot, cheerleaders, and band from the high school to perform and get everyone fired up. When the kids entered the gym, the cheerleaders made pom pom tunnels over both of the doors for the kids to pass through while the band played.

2. The kids were greeted not only by the high school students, but also by the good luck posters that the primary students made earlier in the week. They hung them up after lunch on Wednesday to surprise the intermediates. SO cute. The primary siblings of the older kids wrote personalized good luck messages on the signs as well. 
3. We placed rubber school spirit bracelets on each of our students' wrists and told them, "You are a game changer." 

4. We played two videos during the assembly: one at the beginning in which students gave their testing advice- mixed in with pictures of kids learning throughout the year. The second video played "The Final Countdown" as all of the teachers in the building wished the kids good luck. There were also shots of all of the teachers instructing the kids mixed in. Here's a short clip from that video so you can get the idea:

After the assembly, the students were super fired up. Many expressed that the good luck video made them emotional. One little boy in my class was even moved to tears! I think it reminded the kids how much we care about them being successful.

5. This last one isn't about the pep rally, but it totally made my day on Friday:

My students know that if they grow taller than me during the schoolyear, they get a Refocus Sheet (kind of like a referral, but with no office trip.) So this girl in my class wore wedge tennis shoes and came up to me to check her height against mine a few days ago. Then she asked if she should go and get a Refocus Sheet. I said, "I guess you have to. Make better choices next time." She filled it out, we both signed it, and she took it home. I LOVE the mom's response at the bottom.  I also love that the girl said she wasn't being fair, caring, or respectful. Sixth grade is a great age- they are too funny.

I'm linking up over at Doodle Bug's Teaching for her Five for Friday Linky Party! Come join the party! 
Have a great weekend!


Friday, February 28, 2014

Giveaway Ends Tomorrow!

My $20 giftcard giveaway ends tomorrow! You have one more day to enter!! If you
 entered by donating, you can do it again today and tomorrow to earn ten extra entries per day!
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...And the winner is... LaTonya C! LaTonya, just email me to let me know which gift card you want and I'll send it your way!


Saturday, February 22, 2014

GIVEAWAY, Say Something, Fire Anniversary

It's time for another Five For Friday!
 Here are five highlights from my week.
1. My colleague showed me a neat guided reading strategy this week that I'm loving. It's called: "Say Something." I really like the strategy because you can see how the students are thinking about their texts and it gives them a tool to help them express more meaningful ideas about their reading. I didn't invent this, I just typed it up to tape to my tables. If you want the free file, click {HERE.}

Here's how I use it:
1. I taped the "Say Something" pages to my guided reading table. 
2. Each day, the students pick a box before they start warm up reading and they read through all of the questions in that box.
3. They warm up read while I do a running record.
4. When I'm done, I ask them to stop reading and put up their thumbs when they're ready to say something.
5. Then they turn to their neighbor and say something using a sentence starter from the box they pointed to at the beginning.
6. I listen and smile at their deep conversations!

2. We FINALLY had snowman snow this week! I've been waiting to have my daughter build a snowman since she was born and it finally happened! Look at the cuteness:

3. I Updated my Mystery Prizes: I stopped doing the scratch-off stickers and instead just used regular dollar store stickers. My students would always just peel off the scratch-off sticker anyway. I love the mystery prizes because they're free and easy and my students love them because they're exciting! Also, I told my students that some of the prizes are just a picture of my face under the sticker, so there's also an element of dread as well. (Cue evil laughter.)

4. Last week was the one year anniversary of my room burning down. It came and went without a hitch! 
This was a year ago?!

5. Last week I kept wondering as I looked at my beautiful classroom: if ME from the day before the fire traveled to my current classroom, would I even notice that things were different? I think I would. And here's why: 
  • My classroom library is gorgeous. It is full of all new books that are engaging and sparkling and beautiful. My kids love the selection in their library. Here is a direct quote from one of my students. He was asked to reflect on his favorite thing about fixth grade so far for the upcoming conferences and this is what he said: "Well, let's start with how interesting and amazing the assigned books are! What's not to like about this wonderful classroom? Especially the small library in the class."  This made my heart so happy! I worked exceedingly hard on making sure we had an awesome library and SOMEBODY NOTICED!! :)
  •  I have lots of super-useful stuff and very little clutter. When you're a new teacher, you don't really know what will be the most helpful items to have in your room- so you buy what you think looks fun and interesting. I had the unique experience of being able to buy everything after gaining four years of experience.

  • My chairs. Are awesome. We got these chairs through a funded Donors Choose project and we love them!
  • Everything is just brighter and shinier, and newer! I teach in a portable classroom that had not been updated or refreshed in decades. Now my room is the brightest and newest in the building!
So in honor of the one-year anniversary of rebuilding my classroom, I would like to thank everyone again who bent over backwards to help me out.

I'd also like to have a giveaway to give back. Enter below to win a $20 gift card to one of the stores of your choice: Target, Scholastic Book Clubs, Amazon, Donors Choose, or another store of your choice! Enter below- the giveaway will end next Saturday! 

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Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely week! Remember to hop over to Doodle Bug's teaching to check out other Five for Friday posts!