Monday, March 26, 2012

The Day Before... is the day before STAAR!  My quarters have had a lot of fun the last week getting ready for the test. read correctly...they have had FUN!  And so have I!!

I really enjoyed making surprises for them each day.  "The Writing Games" were awesome!  I know that, typically, we teachers tend to review and reteach the week before our state tests because...well..that's what we think we should do.  But, the truth is, if we've taught them to the best of our ability and done everything we can to meet their needs and have them grow, then we have done what we should do.  When we know better, we do better.  I realized that they can still review using games and fun ideas.  I have spent two months teaching how to take the test (bubble in, plan, final copy...).  If they don't know it by now...cramming them full of things on the day before the test is futile.

With that in mind, I had my quarters just write today.  No urgency, no pressure, no "if you don't do this, I will not be happy."  They practiced narrative and expository writing at their own speed.  I was available to conference with them throughout the day.  My team teacher was AWESOME.  She kept her class all day and allowed them to write as well.  I talked to them and gave them their assignments and she did the rest.  It was great!!  Don't misunderstand...I had a few who did very little to nothing...but most of them tried.

However, my kiddos were a little wild at the freedom of writing without pressure!  They were very loud in the hallway after lunch, so I turned them around to walk down the stairs and back up again. (Our building is two-stories!)  Anyway, as we were going down...I FELL!!!  My. greatest. fear.  As I was walking, I turned to make sure the rest of the class was following quietly and I skipped the bottom step.  Another teacher was standing there and I fell on my butt!!! I also twisted my ankle badly! I had to do everything I could not to cry in front of my quarters!! They had to get the nurse and everything!!!  It also seemed like every teacher in the building walked by, getting full view of my idiocy!!!!  A couple even mentioned how unfortunate it was that they didn't have their camera phones!  My kids were in shock, though!  I'm alive, in a little pain, but I will be there for the STAAR!

Now, I was super excited to give my quarters their final surprise to help them be confident during STAAR.  Since most of my students are ELLs, they sometimes lack confidence with what they can do with the English language.  But everyone received a "STAAR Survival Kit".  Here are some pics!!


Inside each kit, was a special note explaining what is in the kit.

Here is your STAAR Survival Kit!
1.  A pencil
to help you record your answers.
2.  A pencil top eraser
to help you correct your mistakes.
3.  A rubbing rock
to help you relieve some stress.
4.  Peppermints
to keep you awake and alert.
5.  A tracking card
to remind you to ask for one if you need it!

If this is of interest to you, you can download it from my "Free Printables" page.

I believe in my kids and their ability to succeed.  They will be fine!  So I leave you with a Potter quote that reminds me of what I want my students to believe...

“Wit beyond measure is a man's greatest treasure.” --JK Rowling, (Ravenclaw motto)